Britain's Victoria Thornley won her heat in the women's single sculls but it was the Dutch who dominated overall in the opening morning.
Norway's Kjetil Borch won the opening heat in the men's single sculls and finished in the quickest time overall.
The number one seed made a fast start and led throughout the 2000m distance to finish in a time of 6.54.46.
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Hungary's Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar qualified for the quarter-finals in second place while Brazil's Luca Verthein is also through after finishing third.
Greece's Stefanos Ntouskos won the second heat in a time of 6:59:49 to qualify along with New Zealand's Parry Jordan who was second and Peruvian Alvaro Torres Masias in third.
In the third heat on The Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, Denmark's Sverri Nielsen was victorious in a time of 7:02:88 to finish ahead of Italy's ALberto Gennaro di Mauro and Vladislav Yakovlev from Kazakhstan.
Canadian Trevor Jones won the fourth heat in 7:04:12 with Mindaugas Griskonis in second place while in third was Turkey's Onat Kazakli.
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Heat five was won by Croatia's Damir Martin in 7:14:95 ahead of Russia's Alexander Vyazovkin and Cris Nievarez from the Philippines.
German Oliver Siedler, nicknamed the Terminator, won the sixth heat in 7:00:40 with Japan's Ryuta Arakawa in second Egypt's Abdelkhalek Elbana in third.
Those who failed to qualify for the quarter-finals from the heats will get one more chance at the repechage on Saturday.
In the women's single sculls, Thornley won her heat in 7:44:30 as she aims to become the first British female to win a medal in this discipline.
Norway's Kjetil Borch
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The former equestrian rider finished in front of Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland and Sweden's Lovisa Claesson who are also through to the quarter-finals.
Kara Kohler booked her place in the quarter-finals with victory in the first heat.
The American finished in 7:49:71 ahead of Belarus's Tatslana Klimovich and Iran's Nazanin Malaei who also qualify.
Sanita Puspure of Ireland won heat two in 7:46:08 with Mexico's Kenia Lechuga in second and Greece's Aneeta Kyridou in third.
In heat three, Russian Olympic Committee athlete Hana Prakatsen was the victor in 7:48:74 ahead of China's Yan Jiang and Puerto Rico's Veronica Toro Arana.
In heat five, Austria's Magdalena Lobnig won in 7:37:91 with Canadian Carling Zeeman in second and Maike Diekmann, the first Namibian to row at an Olympics, in third.
New Zealand's Emma Twigg finished with the fastest overall time as she won her race in 7:35:22 ahead of The Netherlands' Sophie Souwer and Serbia's Jovana Arsic.
In the men's double sculls, France's Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias had set a new Olympic Best time of 6:10.45 to win the first heat and are joined by China and the Russian Olympic Committee in the semi-finals.
But the French time was beaten in heat three by Netherlands duo Melvin Twellaar and Stef Broenink who qualify along with Great Britain and Romania.
In a thrilling second heat, Poland's Matueusz Biskup and Miroslaw Zietarski nicked it on the line in 6:11:22 ahead of the Switzerland team and New Zealand.
In the women's double sculls, New Zealand's Hannah Osborne and Brooke Donoghue went over the line first in 6:53:62 ahead of the USA and France.
In heat two, Romanian duo Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis comfortably took victory in 6:49:79 ahead of Canada and Italy.
Dutch duo Lisa Scheenaard and Roos de Jong won heat three in 6:49:90 to qualify along with Lithuania and Australia.
In the men's quadruple sculls, the Dutch continued their impressive form on the water with victory in the opening heat in 5:39:80 to qualify along with Australia with Great Britain in third to make the repechage.
In the second heat, Poland pipped World Cup winners Italy to the line by 0.03 seconds with a time of 5:39:25.
In the women's quadruple sculls, Germany won heat one in 6:18:22 with the Netherlands also qualifying while Britain were third.
In heat two, China came through comfortably in 6:14:32 to reach the A final with Poland in second.
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