Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Paralympics Unveil Kid-Chosen Mascots
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced the official mascots for the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in a livestream on Wednesday. In the video, Yoshirō Mori, former prime minister of Japan and current president of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, appears for the announcement event held inside a school gym in Japan.
The winning mascots, which do not yet have names, reflect a mix of traditional and futuristic design elements. The blue character with a cutting-edge vibe represents the upcoming Olympics, and it has the ability to move anywhere instantly. On the other hand, the kind-hearted pink character who represents the Paralympics loves nature and brings to mind Japan's iconic cherry blossom trees. It has telekinetic abilities and can talk to stones and the wind. The characters will officially launch this summer.
The announcement event also revealed the winning mascots' designer, character designer Ryō Taniguchi. He received an award and mini statues of his mascot designs at the ceremony.
The winning designs received 109,041 votes. The designs inspired by beckoning cats who bring good fortune, shrine foxes, and lion-dog guardians who protect Shinto shrines (seen in center column in below image) received 61,423 votes. The designs inspired by foxes, magatama beads, and shapeshifting tanuki (seen in right column in below image) received 35,291 votes.
Elementary and international school students throughout Japan voted as classes to select the winning mascot designs. Voting was held from December 11 to February 22. The three sets of finalists were chosen from 2,042 mascot design submissions. The Mascot Selection Review Conference, with a committee comprised of five people including Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa, was established in early 2017 to select the final choices.
The Tokyo 2020 mascots have created a buzz on social media. They appear to draw inspiration from anime and other aspects of Japanese popular culture. Noting the similarities, one Twitter user recreated the mascots as Pop Team Epic's Popuko and Pipimi.
Globally popular characters who may have influenced the mascots' designs are likely to appear beside them at the upcoming Summer Games. Characters such as Astro Boy, Sailor Moon, and Naruto appear on official Olympic and Paralympic merchandise. In addition, Mori previously proposed having a manga parade at the Games' ceremonies.