Miraitowa and Someity

Official mascots of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On the left, a humanoid cartoon character with large ears whose body has blue-checkered patterns is pumping its fist. On the right, another humanoid cartoon character with pointy ears whose body has pink checkers is wearing a pink-checkered cape and also pumping its fist.
Miraitowa (left), the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Someity (right), the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Paralympics

Miraitowa (Japanese: ミライトワ) is the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Someity (Japanese: ソメイティ) is the official mascot of the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Both events are scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021.[a] The checkered design on both mascots was inspired by the Tokyo 2020 official logo, while Someity's pink design was inspired by cherry blossoms. Both fictional characters have various superpowers, such as teleportation.

Created by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi, the mascots were selected from a competition process which took place in late 2017 and early 2018. A total of 2,042 candidate designs were submitted to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, which then selected three pairs of unnamed mascot designs from the batch to present to Japanese elementary school students for the final decision. The results of the selection were announced on 28 February 2018, and the mascots were named on 22 July 2018. Miraitowa is named after the Japanese words for "future" (未来, mirai) and "eternity" (永久, towa), and Someity is named after someiyoshino, a type of cherry blossom. Someity's name also echoes the English phrase "so mighty". The mascots are expected to help finance the Tokyo Games through merchandising and licensing deals.

History

Selection and naming process

In late 2017 and early 2018, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee held a competition to determine the design of the 2020 mascots. A total of 2,042 design submissions were accepted between 1 August and 14 August 2017. The entries were then subjected to a series of format and design examinations led by media specialists and the Organising Committee's Mascot Selection Panel to determine whether they "would appeal to elementary school-aged children" and whether they "amply reflected the spirit of the Tokyo 2020 Games Vision".[3]

Rejected mascot designs
Pair B, created by Kana Yano
Pair C, created by Sanae Akimoto

By mid-October 2017, this process reduced the pool to a shortlist of three sets of mascot candidates, which were unveiled on 7 December 2017. Each set included two mascots: one for the Olympic Games and the other for the Paralympic Games.[3] Between 11 December 2017 and 22 February 2018, an election was conducted across 16,769 Japanese elementary schools to choose the winning entry, with each participating elementary school class allocated one vote.[4][5][6] In total, 205,755 elementary school classes participated in the election,[6] which was about 75% of elementary schools in Japan.[7]

Results of the mascot selection
Pair Designer Votes received[6] Profile
A (winner) Ryo Taniguchi (Japanese: 谷口亮) 109,041 [8]
B Kana Yano (Japanese: 矢野花奈) 61,423 [9]
C Sanae Akimoto (Japanese: 秋本早苗) 35,291 [10]

The chosen mascots were announced without names on 28 February 2018. The winning entry was candidate pair A, created by Ryo Taniguchi.[6] The Mascot Selection Panel held a vote on a shortlist of proposed names on 28 May 2018, and names with the most votes were subjected to a trademark verification process before they became official.[11] The names of the mascots, Miraitowa and Someity, were announced when the mascots made their formal debut at a press event on 22 July 2018.[12]

Characteristics

Miraitowa, the Olympic mascot, is a figure with blue-checkered patterns inspired by the Games' official logo. It is intended to embody "both old tradition and new innovation". The character has a "strong sense of justice" and is described as "very athletic". It has the ability to teleport anywhere instantly.[13] Miraitowa's name is a combination of the Japanese words "future" (未来, mirai) and "eternity" (永久, towa).[12] According to the Tokyo 2020 organizers, the name "was chosen to promote a future full of eternal hope in the hearts of people all over the world".[14]

Flowers of the cherry blossom Prunus × yedoensis (Japanese: 染井吉野, romanizedsomeiyoshino), the namesake of the Paralympic mascot

Someity, the Paralympic mascot, is a figure with pink-checkered patterns inspired by cherry blossoms and also the Games' official logo. The character is described as "usually calm" but can become "very powerful when needed". The character has the ability to fly using its checkered cape and to send telepathic messages using its cherry blossom-shaped antennae. It can also "talk to stones and the wind" and move objects by looking at them.[13] Someity is named after someiyoshino, a type of cherry blossom, and it is also intended to refer to the English phrase "so mighty".[12]

Although the two mascots have conflicting personalities, they nonetheless have a strong friendship and respect for each other.[15] According to their fictional backgrounds, Miraitowa and Someity "live in the digital world", and through the Internet, they can transport themselves between the digital world and the real world.[16] According to Sadashige Aoki, an advertising theory professor at Hosei University, the mascots follow a Japanese tradition of "creating personalized characters out of nature — mountains, rivers, animals and plants", as well as a "tradition of animism, a belief that every natural thing has a soul".[17]

The mascots were designed by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi, who lives in the Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan. Taniguchi was persuaded by his father, who is also an illustrator, to study art at Cabrillo College in California.[18] He has illustrated English-language textbooks for Japanese children.[18][19] Taniguchi was uninvolved in the naming of the mascots, though he did attend a screening at which various naming proposals were introduced.[18] As part of the agreement to use the mascots, Taniguchi transferred intellectual property rights to the mascots to the Olympic and Paralympic committees, and as a result, he will not receive any royalty payments from mascot-related licensing.[20]

Media

Merchandising

Official merchandising for Tokyo 2020, some of which include Miraitowa and Someity

The mascots are expected to generate revenue to help finance the Tokyo Games.[17] An Olympic official expected the mascots to generate $130 million (¥14.4 billion) in revenue from licensing and merchandising.[18] The organizers of Tokyo 2020 had been criticized for its budget management.[19][21] According to Reuters, a 2016 study found that overall expenses for the Olympics could be "four times the initial estimate made in the bid process".[21] Tokyo 2020 must transfer intellectual property rights to the mascots to the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee after the Games are concluded, which would prevent Tokyo from licensing and developing the mascots after the Games are over.[17]

From late July to early September 2018, a "Mascot House" was located on the first floor of the Tokyo Midtown Hibiya building, where visitors could take photos with the mascots and purchase licensed merchandise featuring the mascots.[22] On 11 July 2019, the Tokyo 2020 organizers unveiled new merchandise, some of it featuring the mascots. As of July 2019, merchandise can be purchased either online or through authorized vendors throughout Japan.[23]

Plush dolls of Miraitowa and Someity will be attached to the bouquets given to Olympic and Paralympic medalists at Tokyo 2020 as part of their design by the Nippon Flower Council.[24][25]

Robotics

On 22 July 2019, the organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympics announced that robotic automatons of Miraitowa and Someity, among other robots, are expected to be included during the Games. According to the Los Angeles Times, the robots are "programmed to show facial expressions as they wave at and shake hands with athletes and fans".[26] The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee plans to use the mascots primarily to promote the Games and greet visitors and athletes, attempting to increase engagement with children.[27] The robots were also featured as part of a "1 Year to Go" press event on 22 July 2019 at an Olympic venue in Tokyo.[28] The robots were included as part of another press event on 18 November 2019 at a Japanese elementary school. The robots' eyes can change to display hearts, along with other emotions, and their multiple joints and arms can be remotely controlled. Cameras allow the robots to recognize and respond to facial expressions. The robots were developed in collaboration with Toyota.[29]

Animation

On 22 July 2019, the official Japanese Twitter account of Tokyo 2020 posted an animated short depicting Miraitowa participating in all the sports to be contested at the Games.[30][31][32] On 25 August 2019, the same Twitter account posted a similar animated video featuring Someity participating in the Paralympic Games.[33]

Reception

Miraitowa and Someity on a Toei Bus in Tokyo

The public reaction to the mascot selection was "generally positive", according to an article published on Forbes' website in March 2018 by contributor Jake Adelstein. Adelstein described the mascots as "cute", though he commented that "there was some criticism of the futuristic blue and pink characters falling clearly into traditional gender roles". Adelstein speculated that the mascots would support the Olympics in Tokyo financially.[19] Multiple observers compared the design of the mascots to that of the Pokémon and Digimon franchises.[19][34][35] An article by Agence France-Presse described the social media reaction to the mascot selection on as "mixed". Some users commented that the mascots were "very Japanese and very cute", while others commented that the mascots should have been "more round" or "more huggable". Other commentators said that the selected design "appealed more to children whereas adults preferred the softer and more traditional options".[36]

Dan McQuade wrote in an article in sports news website Deadspin that it will be difficult for Miraitowa and Someity to match the popularity of Soohorang and Bandabi, the mascots of the 2018 Winter Olympics, citing statements from the BBC, which wrote that the 2020 mascots "have a tough act to follow", and The Japan Times, which wrote in a headline that the success of Soohorang and Bandabi "leaves Japan in a bind".[35][37][38] James Dator, in a blog entry published on the sports news website SB Nation, wrote that there is "nothing functionally wrong" with the mascot design, but felt that Sanae Akimoto's pair C was a superior candidate and should have been chosen instead. Dator also argued that children should not have been the ones to make the final decision.[39] On the other hand, Naoki Ogi, a Japanese pedagogy expert, emphasized the importance of the role of children in selecting the mascots, as opposed to adults.[19] Japanese author Rurika Suzuki said that the mascots have a "a very Japanese anime-like quality", describing them as "brilliant and sporty and perfect for the Olympics".[19]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Originally scheduled to take place between 24 July and 9 August 2020, the 2020 Summer Olympics were rescheduled for 23 July to 8 August 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The Games will keep the name "Tokyo 2020" for marketing and branding purposes despite being held in 2021.[2]

References

  1. ^ "IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Announce New Dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020". olympic.org. 2020-03-30. Archived from the original on 30 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  2. ^ McDonald, Scott (2020-03-25). "The Reason why Olympics in 2021 will still be called the 2020 Olympic Games". newsweek.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  3. ^ a b "Tokyo 2020 Games Mascots". Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  4. ^ "2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers begin soliciting mascot ideas". The Japan Times. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Tokyo 2020 lets children choose mascots from 3 finalists". NBC Sports. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Tokyo 2020 Unveils Olympic & Paralympic Mascots" (Press release). Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 30 May 2018. Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  7. ^ Lang, Cady (27 December 2019). "The 2020 Summer Olympics Mascot Is Miraitowa: Here's What That Means". Time. Time USA. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Mascot Candidates A". Tokyo 2020. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Mascot Candidates B". Tokyo 2020. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Mascot Candidates C". Tokyo 2020. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  11. ^ "10th Meeting of the Mascot Selection Panel" (Press release). Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 28 February 2018. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Olympic mascots Miraitowa and Someity invoke the future and cherry trees for 2020 Games". The Japan Times. AFP-JIJI. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Tokyo 2020 Mascots". Tokyo 2020. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 23 August 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Mascots, Miraitowa and Someity have finally Debut!". Tokyo 2020. 22 July 2018. Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Mascot Candidates A Profile". Tokyo 2020. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Paralympic mascot named Someity". Official website of the Paralympic Movement. International Paralympic Committee. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "Cuddly and cute, but will Japan's Olympic mascots be cash cows?". The Japan Times. 23 January 2018. Archived from the original on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d Hueston, Dave (3 May 2018). "Tokyo 2020 mascot designer draws inspiration from the scenic route". Kyodo News. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Adelstein, Jake. "Japan's Cute Blue And Pink Mascots Are Here To Boost The Tokyo 2020 Olympics". Forbes. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  20. ^ Gallagher, Chris (27 February 2018). "Olympics: Futuristic pointy-eared mascots chosen for Tokyo 2020". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  21. ^ a b Tarrant, Jack (22 April 2018). "Tokyo 2020 must address questions, says IOC's Coates". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Mascots". Tokyo 2020. Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  23. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Games committee unveils new merchandise". Kyodo News. Kyodo News. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Tokyo 2020 medallists' bouquets sourced from earthquake-affected areas". Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. 12 November 2019. Archived from the original on 19 November 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Tokyo Games organizers unveil designs of medalist bouquets". The Japan Times. Kyodo: The Japan Times. 13 November 2019. Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  26. ^ Wharton, David (22 July 2019). "Robots will be part of the 2020 Olympics experience in Tokyo". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  27. ^ "High-Fiving Robots Are Going to Be Very Busy Helpers at the 2020 Olympics. Here's Everything They Can Do". Time. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  28. ^ "Olympics: Local children, parents spell out "1 Year to Go" message". Kyodo News. Kyodo News. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  29. ^ AFP (18 November 2019). "'Kawaii!' Olympic robot mascots thrill Tokyo students". RTL Today. RTL Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  30. ^ @Tokyo2020jp (22 July 2019). "ミライトワが東京2020オリンピックの競技に挑戦" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved 30 July 2019 – via Twitter.
  31. ^ Valentine, Evan (25 July 2019). "Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Kick Off Marketing With Anime Promo". ComicBook.com. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  32. ^ Singh, Shashank (23 July 2019). "Tokyo Olympics 2020 Mascots star in an Exclusive Animated Video". The Geek Herald. TheGeekHerald.com. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  33. ^ @Tokyo2020jp (25 August 2019). "#ソメイティ が東京2020パラリンピックの22競技に挑戦" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved 26 August 2019 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (28 February 2018). "The Tokyo Olympic Mascots Look Like Pokémon". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  35. ^ a b McQuade, Dan (28 February 2018). "Will Japan's Olympic Mascot Be A Soohorang Or An Izzy?". Deadspin. Gizmodo Media Group. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Doe-eyed superhero picked for Tokyo 2020 mascot". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Agence France-Presse (AFP). 28 February 2018. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  37. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympic mascots unveiled after children's vote". BBC. 28 February 2018. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  38. ^ Tanaka, Yukari (24 February 2018). "Success of Pyeongchang Olympic mascots leaves Japan in a bind". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  39. ^ Dator, James (28 February 2018). "Tokyo 2020 mascots aren't Stoned Cat and Leaf Bear because kids have no taste". SB Nation. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.

External links

Preceded by
Soohorang
Olympic mascot
Miraitowa

Tokyo 2020
Succeeded by
Bing Dwen Dwen
Preceded by
Bandabi
Paralympic mascot
Someity

Tokyo 2020
Succeeded by
Shuey Rhon Rhon
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Miraitowa and Someity