TOKYO – Two futuristic figures, inspired by anime, have been chosen as mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after voting in thousands of schools in Japan, the organizing committee announced on Wednesday.
The winning designs represent the “tradition and innovation” of Japan, according to the organizers.
The mascots beat the other two pairs in contention by a big margin, getting 53 percent of the votes.
The results were announced in a ceremony at Hoyonomori school in Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, attended by hundreds of students and the mascot designers.
Japanese illustrator Ryo Taniguchi, whose entries won, designs characters for language teaching books and companies. He said he was surprised and grateful to win.
Almost 17,000 primary schools in Japan – around 70 percent of all such schools in the country – took part in the voting, along with some Japanese schools abroad.
The selection panel is expected to announce the names of the mascots – aimed at boosting children’s participation in the Games – during the summer.
The three final designs were chosen from among 2,042 entries submitted from all over Japan.
The organizing committee in April 2016 unveiled the official emblems for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, after scrapping the initially selected logos over allegations of plagiarism.
Mascots are an important and popular element of Japanese modern culture, with both private and public enterprises using them to promote their products.