Sano stands by Olympics logo, denies plagiarism, retracts design ‘to protect family, staff’

AP, Kyodo

Kenjiro Sano, whose logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was scrapped Tuesday, stood by his design but said he decided to retract the logo because he felt his design did not have the support of the public and was marring the image of the Tokyo Olympics.

“I swear my design did not involve copies or plagiarism,” Sano, 43, said in a statement on his website late Tuesday. “Any attempt of suspected copying or plagiarism should never be permitted.”

He apologized to artists and other involved parties over some of his works unrelated to the Olympic logo, while blaming some media for giving him a “bad image” and reporting “as if all of my designs were copies.”

“I made the decision (to retract the logo) after judging that it is difficult to let this situation continue, to protect my family and staff from persistent attacks and bashing over the ruckus,” Sano said, adding that the privacy of his family has been breached with their pictures exposed online.

“I feel the situation has become unbearable as a human being,” the statement said.

Sano now will not be paid the ¥1 million prize for winning the design competition.

The latest suspicion surfaced over the weekend, when he was alleged to have taken a photo from someone else’s website in materials used in Olympic logo presentations, including one at its launch, apparently without permission.

  • Liars N. Fools

    To the very end….don’t know whether to empathize or criticize.

  • Clickonthewhatnow

    Whether or not the design similarity was coincidental or not, the design sucks. Change it and move on. Someone take this decision out of Sano’s hands, I’m tired of this already.

    • Steve Jackman

      Yeah, baby, sweep Japan’s plagiarism epidemic under the rug quickly. Spin the story to make it about the logo design, to try to divert people’s attention away from the issue of plagiarism. Classic attempt at a smoke-and-mirrors approach !

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        More epidemics brought to you by Steve Jackman. Hey, got links for the rest of this… epidemic?

      • Steve Jackman

        Yes, there are hundreds of links on Google to news about a culture of plagiarism in Japan. Research shows that most university students in Japan do not consider plagiarism to be morally wrong, as reported in one of the reports below.

        Do a Google search on Japanese plagiarism yourself. Here are just a few examples to get you started. Enjoy!

        Academic Scandal Shakes Japan, The New York Times, July6, 2014

        Head of Japan’s Riken Institute Apologizes Over Stem-Cell Papers, The Wall Street Journal, Match 14, 2014

        Todai sounds plagiarism alarm with rare cheating report, The Japan Times, March 13, 2015

        Famed Japanese stem-cell scientist dies in apparent suicide amid retraction scandal, The Washington Post, August 5, 2014

        Plagiarism Issues and Concerns in Japan, Robert E Gettings and Geoffrey S Hughes, March 2014

        Plagiarism in the Japanese universities: Truly a cultural matter, Asia Pacific Forum on Educational Integrity, 2009

        Waseda University Checking Dissertations for Plagiarism, Retraction Watch, 2014

        Study of massive preprint archive hints at the geography of plagiarism, Science Magazine, Dec 11, 2014

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        What about Steve Jackman’s epidemic of using the word epidemic, or for not providing actual links for any of his supposed epidemics? That’s an epidemic!

      • Steve Jackman

        Are you serious? The sources I have provided are on the first few pages of Google search if you type “Japanese research plagiarism”. The only reason I have not copy-and-pasted the actual links is because all comments with external links go to the moderator queue at Japan Times and it can take a long time for them to approve such comments.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        I see. Again, a difference in people is all. I’d rather people have the links to get to any facts I want them to reference if it is relevant, rather than send someone off on a Google chase and say “it’s in the results if you type this”. But when you absolutely must get your posts through quickly, I suppose. Good day.

      • Steve Jackman

        In that case, all I have to say is you’re one lazy dude. No wonder your comments reek of ignorance.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        I’m the one who posts links to support my points even though it means my posts may be slow in coming up because it helps others. You do less to help others because heaven forbid your post not be put up asap. I’m more helpful is the term you’re looking for, and you are… less so. I can deal with being more helpful to others, Steve. Thanks.

      • Steve Jackman

        What a bunch of crap, Clickonthewhatnow. Your comments are all about making personal attacks on me and others you disagree with. So, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        You have no idea what all of my posts are, and you have just proven that. Thanks, Steve! Have a good weekend!

  • Tangerine 18

    Classic. He’s been spoon-fed incredibly lucrative jobs for years by his old mentors from Tama Art University, Hakuhodo and Dentsu, not to mention his brother at METI. He and his staff have been plagiarizing other people’s work for a long time and when he gets caught he blames the media. How long until he pipes up with, “I’m the victim here”?
    All his former supporters aren’t exactly flocking to his side, are they?

    • Ron Lane

      Spot on!

  • Jackson Lo

    The term for him in Japan, one, is a ボンボン ‘bonbon’, one of those good-for-nothing connected self-entitled ‘elite’ that are all over the world from here. Growing up and working in international schools, there’s even more* of these coming through the pipeline…some of them work for Japan Times and its advertisers too♪

    The cover-up is worse than the crime itself, in this case–and Japanese marketing has relied heavily on the fact that it’s paymasters, don’t use the Internet, and don’t read the news beyond their own home station.

    So there’s too generations, at least, that need to…go. The おっさん ‘ossan’ that stagnate the progress of the country–and their spoiled offspring.

    • Avery

      Bonbon is etymologically related to お坊ちゃん obocchan, from which we get the Natsume Soseki novel about the silver-spoon kid thrown for a loop in the countryside.

  • ilovetataki

    So what happens now? Will there be a new race for a logo? I suggest opening the opportunity to design the logo for children under 18 only.

  • Ahojanen

    While enjoying the latest scandal or “炎上 bonfire” as a bystander, I am personally not interested in him or his products… no grudge, no sympathy, no attachment. With his logo down finally I also feel like withdrawing into daily life.

    I only praise professional-like crowd inquiry and collective acts among netizens investigating into all “dubious” cases around Sano and associates. The same is true for the stadium plan review. I wonder which is more effective and persuasive for a policy re-course: street protests or mass online inquiry involving expertise.

    A fundamental question: Is a logo still necessary for Olympics each time? Unlike the stadium construction, we would never get troubled without a logo.