Japan: Tokyo 2020 Olympics Mascot Unveiled

A total of 205,755 classes at 16,769 elementary schools selected the mascots from a shortlist of three design sets.

More than 100,000 stuffed dolls (Soohorang and Paralympic mascot Banbdabi) were sold over the past year, Pyeongchang organizers said.

"While cherishing tradition, it is always up to date with the latest news and information".

The winning designs for the Olympics and the Paralympics were created by Ryo Taniguchi, a 43-year-old character designer and illustrator from Fukuoka Prefecture, whose works have been featured in English-language school textbooks.

"Thank you very much, my mind has gone blank and I don't know what to say", he said. "I just want to tell my beloved wife that I've been chosen".

He explained how he got rid of any unnecessary elements and kept his design simple.

"I am excited to imagine these characters on display everywhere and moving around", she said.


Insurance companies market their services with a cuddly mascot, the famous Jimmy Hatori - a ninja with a large pink condom on his head - promotes safe sex, and even the Asahikawa prison in Hokkaido has a mascot - a humanoid with a big smiling face and a large purple flower for hair, dressed in the prison warden's uniform.

According to the 2020 organising committee, their mascots have opposite personalities but "respect each other and are very good friends".

"It was tense and there were many different opinions".

Japan has life-size characters, Yuru-kyara, representing nearly everything.

They prance around street fairs, sporting events, and tourist destinations. Its superpower is moving things by simply looking at them.

Twelve-year-old Miyu Kawa from the school where the victor was unveiled on Wednesday pronounced the mascots "unique" and "very cool".

Welcoming the "adorable" characters to the Tokyo 2020 team, the city's governor Yuriko Koike said she hoped the selection would continue to build "momentum" and "excitement" with less than 900 days to go until the opening ceremony.


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