Did you know the Tokyo 2020 Olympic mascot was announced to the world on this day in 2018?
To help MIRAITOWA celebrate this day, we take a look back at its origins as well as every single mascot to have graced the Olympic stage.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot is styled with the Ai (indigo blue) Ichimatsu pattern from the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem, a tribute to both the respected tradition and modern innovation of Japanese culture.
MIRAITOWA has a personality inspired by the Japanese proverb, “learn from the past and develop new ideas”. MIRAITOWA is cheerful and remarkably athletic, with a very strong sense of integrity. It has a special power to instantly teleport anywhere it wants.
The name MIRAITOWA is based on the Japanese words "mirai", meaning “future”, and "towa", meaning “eternity”, representing the wish that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will lead to a future of everlasting hope in the hearts of everyone around the world.
Previous Olympic mascots
The fun started all the way back in 1968 when Schuss, a little red-headed character on skis, captured the public’s hearts at the Grenoble Winter Olympic Games. Since then we’ve seen mountain dogs, beavers, a duck-billed platypus and so many more wonderful creations bring joy, fun and a touch of mischief to the Games.
Take a trip down memory lane by looking through the images below:
Date: 2018 PYEONGCHANG
The mascot for the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 was Soohorang. The mascot takes its motif from a white tiger, which has been long considered Korea’s guardian animal. “Sooho” means protection in Korean, while “Rang” derives from the Korean word for tiger. Soohorang is not a fierce animal, but symbolised the protection offered to athletes, spectators and all other people involved in the 2018 Games.
Date: 2016 RIO
Vinicius was the mascot for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Vinicius is a mixture of different Brazilian animals and was chosen to represent the diversity of the Brazilian people and culture, as well as its exuberant nature. His design takes inspiration from pop culture, as well as video game and animation characters, and his name was selected from among 323,327 proposals.
Date: 2014 SOCHI
Name: The Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard
The three mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 were the Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard. The mascots were selected following a contest that attracted some 24,048 designs. The final decision was made in a vote by the Russian public as part of a TV programme. In 2012 Russia introduced a new 25-ruble coin featuring the Sochi 2014 mascots.
Date: 2012 LONDON
Wenlock, the mascot of the Olympic Games London 2012, has a metallic appearance. The shape of his head is based on the roof of the Olympic Stadium, and the light on his head is based on those found on London's famous black cabs. His eye is the lens of a camera, enabling Wenlock to film everything he sees.
Date: 2010 VANCOUVER
Name: Quatchi and Miga
The mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010 were inspired by the First Nations on the West Coast of Canada. Quatchi is a Sasquatch, a popular character from local legend who lives in the forest. Miga is a sea bear, a mythical animal that is part orca whale and part Kermode bear. The Kermode bear, also called “Bear Spirit” lives only in British Columbia.
Date: 2008 BEIJING
The five mascots for the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 formed the “Fuwa”, or “good-luck dolls”. Beibei the fish represents water, Jingjing the panda represents the forest, Yingying the Tibetan antelope represents earth, Nini the swallow represents the sky and Huanhuan symbolises fire and the Olympic spirit.
Date: 2006 TURIN
Name: Neve and Gliz
Neve and Gliz were the mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Turin 2006. Neve is a snowball, and Gliz is an ice cube. Neve has fluid form with rounded contours, embodying harmony and elegance of movement. The angular and smooth shapes of Gliz recall the power and strength of athletes.
Date: 2004 ATHENS
Name: Phevos and Athena
Named after ancient Greek Gods, Phevos and Athena were the mascots for the Olympic Games Athens 2004. “Phevos” is another name for Apollo, the god of light and music, while “Athena” is the goddess of wisdom and protector of the city of Athens. Phoebos and Athena are brother and sister, and are depicted in the shape of a “daidala”, an ancient bell-shaped terracotta doll.
Date: 2002 SALT LAKE CITY
Name: Powder, Coal and Copper
The three mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002 were Powder, a snowshoe hare, Copper, a coyote, and Coal, a black bear. The names are a nod to Utah's natural resources, its snow and its land. Over 42,000 schoolchildren submitted suggestions for the mascots' names, and a national vote was held to choose their final names.
Date: 2000 SYDNEY
Name: Syd, Olly AND Millie
The first time three mascots were used was at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000. Syd was a platypus; Olly, a kookaburra; and Millie, an echidna. The three mascots symbolise water, air and earth respectively. Their names also have a specific significance: Syd represents the host city of Sydney; Olly is a reference to the Olympics; and Millie refers to the new millennium.
Date: 1998 NAGANO
"Snowlets" was the collective name for the mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998. They consist of four owls named Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki. Sukki represents fire, Nokki symbolises air, Lekki represents earth and Tsukki symbolises water. "Snow" was intended to invoke the winter season, while “lets” refers to “let’s”, an invitation to join in the Games celebrations. The names of the four Snowlets were chosen from among 47,484 suggestions.
Date: 1996 ATLANTA
Izzy was the mascot for the Olympic Games Atlanta 1996. In a departure from previous mascots, Izzy is neither human nor animal, but an information technology creation. Izzy was designed and named by the children of Atlanta.
Date: 1994 LILLEHAMMER
Name: Haakon and Kristin
Haakon and Kristin, the mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Lillehammer 1994, are a tribute to two historical 13th century figures who hailed from the Lillehammer region. Although they wear medieval clothes in a nod to their historical roots, they are happy, modern children. For the Games, eight pairs of Norwegian children were selected from about 10,000 candidates to play the role of the “living mascots”.
Date: 1992 BARCELONA
Cobi was the mascot for the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992. Cobi represents a Pyrenean Mountain Dog in human form depicted in a Cubist style. Reactions to Cobi were somewhat mixed at first, but the mascot grew in popularity during the months leading up to the Games, and ultimately proved a huge success. Cobi even had his own animated TV series.
Date: 1992 ALBERTVILLE
Magique, the mascot for the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992, was the first non-animal mascot since Innsbruck 1976. Designed as a star in the colours of the French flag, his shape was intended to symbolise dreams and imagination.
Date: 1988 SEOUL
The choice of tiger as the mascot for the Olympic Games Seoul 1988 was made from a shortlist featuring four different animals: a rabbit, a squirrel, a mandarin duck and a tiger. The eventual design was chosen from among 4,344 entries submitted by people across the Republic of Korea, meanwhile his name, "Hodori" was chosen from among 2,295 suggestions.
Date: 1988 CALGARY
Name: Hidy and Howdy
Hidy and Howdy, the mascots for the Olympic Winter Games Calgary 1988, are polar bears, symbolic of Canada’s Arctic regions. The mascots are brother and sister, and their names were chosen to represent the Calgary region's hospitality. These names were chosen by a citizens' jury following a contest organised by Calgary Zoo that attracted almost 7,000 entries.
Date: 1984 LOS ANGELES
Modelled on the US national emblem the eagle, Sam was selected as the mascot for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. Sam has a cheerful and lively personality which made him popular with children, and the mascot even had his own animated TV show.
Date: 1984 SARAJEVO
The Olympic Winter Games Sarajevo 1984 mascot, Vučko, was a wolf — an animal typically found in the forests of the Dinaric Alps region. The wolf is a prominent figure in Yugoslavian fables, associated with winter and embodying courage and strength. Vučko is a friendly character and helped to change the usually ferocious image of the wolf.
Date: 1980 MOSCOW
The mascot for the Olympic Games Moscow 1980 was Misha, a bear that was very popular in the then Soviet Union. Misha's design was chosen from some 45,000 ideas submitted by people in the Soviet Union. Prior to the Games, Misha even travelled in a Soyuz rocket to spend some time on the Salyut 6 space station.
Date: 1980 LAKE PLACID
A raccoon was chosen to represent the Olympic Games Lake Placid 1980. The raccoon is a familiar animal from the mountainous region of the Adirondacks where Lake Placid is situated. The mascot’s name, Roni, was chosen by schoolchildren in the Lake Placid area.
Date: 1976 MONTREAL
Amik the beaver was the mascot for the Olympic Games Montreal 1976. Beavers are iconic in Canada and feature on coins and postage stamps. The beaver is well known for its patience, perseverance and intelligence. It has played an important role in the development of Canada. Amik had a ribbon around its body featuring the emblem of the Games.
Date: 1976 INNSBRUCK
Schneemann, which means ‘snowman’ in German, was the mascot for the Olympic Games Innsbruck 1976. Schneemann proved to be a huge commercial success and was featured on t-shirts, stickers, cushions, keyrings, glassware and as a soft toy.
Date: 1972 Munich
The first official mascot in the history of the Olympic Summer Games was Waldi, who was introduced at the Munich 1972 Games. Waldi was modelled on a dachshund. Waldi symbolises perseverance and flexibility under pressure, and has a very strong heart; all characteristics of the top-level athlete.
Date: 1968 Grenoble
The very first Olympic mascot was presented at the Olympic Winter Games Grenoble 1968. Going by the name of Schuss, the mascot proved a hit. Since then, every edition of the Olympic Games has featured a mascot with characteristics that symbolise the particular edition of the Games.