TOKYO — The schoolchildren of Japan have made their choice; a pair of futuristic digital characters will be the mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Organizers unveiled the winning designs in Tokyo on Wednesday.
A total of 205,755 classes at 16,769 elementary schools throughout Japan took part in selecting three designs, with each class casting one vote. The winning pair, clad in the ‘ichimatsu’ checkered pattern of the Games’ official logo, received 109,041 votes.
The designer of the winning mascots is Ryo Taniguchi, who graduated in 1997 as an art major from Cabrillo College. He currently resides in Japan and is active as a character designer/illustrator. His work has been featured by many companies and exhibitions in Japan.
“The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games finally have their mascots,” said Ryohei Miyata, head of the mascot selection panel. “This means a lot, especially in Japan. I cannot wait to see these two characters coming to life in the stadiums, on the streets and on TV.”
According to Tokyo 2020, the two mascots (Olympic and Paralympic) “have opposite personalities. However, they respect each other and they are very good friends. They both have a great spirit of hospitality. They always try their best to cheer and encourage everyone.”
The blue foxy creature, which represents the Olympics, has an “old-fashioned charm that reflects tradition and also has a high-tech, cutting edge vibe.” It also “has a special power allowing it to move anywhere instantaneously.”
Organizers say the mascots combine tradition with innovation. Their names will be decided by copywriters and other professionals and announced in July or August.
The selection process involving schoolchildren was introduced to get students enthusiastic about the games while also ensuring transparency.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020.