• Kyodo


The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics began accepting entries for a new logo at noon Tuesday, nearly three months after canceling a design plagued by allegations of plagiarism.

Reflecting public criticism that the selection process was opaque, the committee will accept entries from anyone regardless of their design experience. The first competition was limited to individuals who had received more than one key design award, and the judges were all from the design industry.

“We’re expecting at least 10,000 applications this time,” said Ryohei Miyata, head of the selection committee.

Only 104 applications were accepted for the previous competition.

Applicants this time only have to be 18 or older and a resident of Japan. The committee will accept an entry by a group if the leader of the group meets the age and resident criteria, meaning that people younger than 18 can still take part.

The second contest became necessary after a Belgian theater logo designer sued Kenjiro Sano for plagiarism and his winning logo was canceled. Sano also faced allegations of plagiarism or copyright violations over other designs he was involved with.

A document on the organizing committee’s website soliciting entries for the second contest has been downloaded more than 62,000 times since it was made public on Oct. 16, showing a high level of public interest.

The designer of the winning logo will receive ¥1 million in prizes and will be invited to the Olympics opening ceremony in 2020.

About 30 people, ranging from kindergarten to high school age, taking a design class run by a nonprofit organization in Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka, are planning to submit logos.

“The design immediately popped into my mind. I want people around the world to look at my logo,” said class member Suzu Maeda, 11.

Takahiro Wada, 54, head of the NPO, said that “by (submitting a logo), I hope it will become a good memory for the children.”

At Tokyo Design Academy, a vocational school in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, about 30 students have created logos during class.

“By accepting entries from the public, it became fair,” said Daiki Umeda, 25, who came up with a logo with waves and other designs to give it a Japanese feel. “There will be opportunities for a lot of people.”

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Students are having fun,” said Hiroyuki Shiozawa, who teaches there.

A 45-year-old designer in Kawasaki said he made two logos, but asked to remain anonymous.

“I want to see how far I can go (through the selection process),” he said. Commenting on the plagiarism claim, he said being accused of copying someone’s work would be the worst conceivable thing for him.

The city of Tsurugashima, Saitama Prefecture, has accepted entries from people nationwide to submit a logo under its name as part of a booster campaign. It received 250 designs for the regular Olympics and 235 for the Paralympics.

“We received more entries than we had expected,” said a municipal official. “You could see in many logos that people put a lot of effort in them.”

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