The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has today announced its plan to have the Games' official mascots decided by means of a national competition. Members of the public in Japan will be invited to submit mascot design proposals, following which a shortlist of designs will be reviewed and voted on by elementary schoolchildren across the country.
Did you know that mascots are a very popular element of modern Japanese culture? They are usually created to promote a particular region, event or business, and are often used by local governments or other organisations to stimulate tourism and economic development, or by companies to promote their corporate identity.
The respective mascots selected for each Olympic and Paralympic Games have become a much-loved feature of the Games too. They add to the excitement surrounding the Games, they communicate the values of the Olympic and Paralympic movements and they reflect the culture of the host country.
All residents of Japan will be invited to submit their personal mascot designs through Japanese- and English-language websites. A “creative brief” with a comprehensive set of design guidelines and criteria is being made available for applicants, who will need to submit designs for both Olympic and Paralympic mascots. A Tokyo 2020 mascot review panel will select a shortlist from the submitted design sets, and this will be reviewed and voted on by elementary school classes nationwide. Tokyo 2020 will select the design set which attracts the largest number of classroom votes.
Said Yoshiko Ikoma, Vice Chairperson of the Mascot Selection Process Panel, “Given the importance of mascots in modern Japanese culture, we always knew there would be huge public interest in the selection of the Tokyo 2020 mascot. We think this process gives the public – and especially schoolchildren – a unique opportunity to participate in the design and selection process.”
The timeline for the design and selection process will be as follows:
- August 1 to 14, 2017 – design submission period (submission via a special website)
- December 2017 – mascot panel selects shortlist of design sets
- December 2017 to January 2018 – elementary schoolchildren vote on the shortlist
- March 2018 – design set with the largest number of votes is announced as the winner
- July to August 2018 – mascot panel decides names for the winning mascots