Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers on Friday unveiled a shortlist of four replacement logos after the original design was scrapped last September amid accusations of plagiarism.
The Tokyo 2020 Logo Selection Committee chose the four candidates from almost 15,000 entries in a competition open to any resident of Japan over the age of 18.
“This time, we wanted as many people as possible to participate, and we received entries from people of all different ages, nationalities and occupations,” said Logo Selection Committee Chairman Ryohei Miyata.
“Those who participate in the Olympics and Paralympics aren’t just athletes. This process gave a lot of people the chance to take part.”
Members of the public will now have until April 17 to voice their opinion online or by postcard. The committee will take these into account before it votes on which design to present to the Tokyo 2020 board on April 25. The winner will be decided the same day.
The four designs range from an indigo-and-white checkered circle to “a morning glory flower as it faces the heavens to greet the new morning.”
“We received so many good applications,” said committee member Ai Sugiyama, a former professional tennis player.
“They were all so full of passion. Looking at all the entries, I thought it would be very difficult to narrow it down to just one, so I’m happy that we have reached this stage. People’s enthusiasm for the Olympics really shone through.”
The competition was launched last October after the original logo by designer Kenjiro Sano unveiled last July was axed. Claims of plagiarism by the designer of a Belgian theater logo led to a slew of further allegations against Sano’s work.
The Logo Selection Committee — which met 14 times — chose the four candidates in January before adopting a series of copyright checks to avoid a repeat of last year’s debacle.
“The work isn’t finished yet, but I have to say thanks to the Japanese public for waiting,” said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori. “The previous logo couldn’t respond to your expectations, but Miyata and people from various fields have come together and worked very hard.”
The 19-member committee, headed by Tokyo University of the Arts President Miyata, is drawn from the worlds of sports, design and business, and features household names such as Sugiyama and baseball legend Sadaharu Oh.
“In order to create an emblem that is loved and that sends a message to the world, the process had to be about participation and transparency,” said Miyata, who said the committee does not know the identity of any of the entrants.
The designer of the successful logo will be awarded ¥1 million and a ticket to the opening ceremonies of both the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Meanwhile, opening the selection process to the public drew criticism from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, which argued that it “disrespected” the design profession.
The original competition was open only to designers who had won at least two of seven designated awards.
“Giving one’s opinion is another way for people to participate,” said Miyata. “All of these are wonderful designs and I think we will receive a diverse range of comments. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes.”
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