Tokyo 2020 mascots unveiled as futuristic superheroes

Olympic mascots and their meanings
Tokyo 2020 via CNN
With Wednesday's unveiling of the mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games -- two futuristic, superhero creatures -- take a look at Olympic mascots going back to 1980.

With the Winter Olympics barely over, Tokyo is already gearing up for its time to shine.

Japanese school children have decided on the mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games — two futuristic, superhero creatures.

The mascots, which are yet to be named, were chosen by children from over 16,000 elementary schools across Japan and its international schools.

The children voted for their favorite designs from three shortlisted illustrations. The winner was unveiled at a school in the capital on Wednesday, after receiving more than 109,000 votes.

The blue and pink digitally designed creatures echo the country’s anime obsession and, according to organizers, combine tradition with modern innovation.

“I cannot wait to see these two characters coming to life in the stadiums, on the streets and on TV,” Ryohei Miyata, chairperson of the mascot selection panel, said in a statement.

“I believe this is an excellent choice since Tokyo 2020’s branding vision is “innovation from harmony”, which implies that innovation will occur when the old and the new of Tokyo and Japan come together.”

The voting process was part of the country’s nationwide education program called “Yoi Don!” which means “Get Set!”. The program aims to teach children the values of the Games and allow them to get involved in initiatives linked to Tokyo 2020.

According to organizers, the mascots — created by character designer and illustrator, Ryo Taniguchi — have “opposite personalities” but “respect each other and are very good friends.”

The blue foxy creature, which represents the Olympics, has an “old-fashioned charm that reflects tradition and also has a high-tech, cutting edge vibe.” It also “has a special power allowing it to move anywhere instantaneously.”

Meanwhile the pink mascot, which represents the Paralympics, has “a dignified inner strength and a kind heart that loves nature” and is “usually calm” but can become “very powerful when needed.” Its supernatural power involves being able to “talk with stones and the wind” and telekinesis — where it can “move things by just looking at them.”

The pair are due to be named later this year.

Mascots have been used at the Olympic Games since 1968 to represent the culture of the host country. There has been mascots of all shapes and sizes — from dachshunds to bears, Greek gods to alien-like hybrids that incorporated aspects of the host’s culture, history or wildlife.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on July 24, 2020, and run through until August 9.

The Paralympics will take place between August 25 and September 6.