National

New Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo draws mixed reaction, fails to excite

Kyodo

The official emblem picked by the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee received mixed reactions from art critics and the public.

“It’s simplistic and easy to understand. The use of just one color gives a strength and intensity to the logo,” said art critic Takemi Kuresawa.

He added that Asao Tokolo’s design, chosen Monday, is original as he cannot recall a recent Olympic or Paralympic logo that was one color.

However, Kuresawa also said all four designs on the shortlist failed to represent the ideal of the Olympics, and the organizing committee also has yet to say what its members think the Olympic Games symbolize.

Koichi Kawajiri, an advertising design critic, said the four finalists “did not really have a strong presence.”

Tokolo’s design has a “high perfection level,” Kawajiri said, but he has “reservations about whether it succeeded in fully expressing a sense of sports.”

In that sense, Kawajiri said, the original logo designed by graphic designer Kenjiro Sano was “perfect” as an Olympic logo.

Sano’s design was scrapped after coming under intense fire over accusations of plagiarism.

Opinion among the public was also split, with some saying the logo, a navy-colored check design with its roots in the Edo Period, has “a traditional Japanese touch,” while others consider it a bit somber.

“I think it evokes the image of something with movement, something flaring,” said 70-year-old Kazuyoshi Asada, an independent businessman in Kyoto. “I like it because it has a traditional Japanese touch as it only uses the navy color.

“I’ve always thought the simple (design) is best because a lot had happened” in the decision process, he said, referring to the plagiarism scandal.

The public competition attracted 14,599 entries. The four designs on the final shortlist were presented to the public April 8.

Kiyoko Nagasaki, 68, of Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, said the logo looks “cool,” while Misaki Seguchi, a 25-year-old company employee in Sapporo, said: “I like it because it looks fresh. I hope the games will be simple (like the logo) because the world is having a difficult time with disasters and terrorism.”

But some people were more disappointed than delighted as the logo was not the most popular one among the public.

“This one’s actually cute,” said Yuki Morita, 24, a company employee in Osaka. “But I wish the one with a colorful and gorgeous design had been picked.”

A 28-year-old shop clerk in Osaka said, “It needs a little more color.”

A 43-year old company employee in Nagoya said: “It couldn’t hurt. But it lacks a spirit of challenge and I’m not sure if it’s attractive to people abroad.”

Hitoshi Watanabe, a 57-year-old moving company employee from Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, said: “I’m not that happy because another one was more popular among my friends. But, as one has finally been picked, I think it’s important that we support it and get behind the games now 100 percent.”