National / Politics

Japan's Democratic Party reveals new logo to cries of plagiarism and indecency

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

The main opposition Democratic Party on Thursday unveiled what it calls a “vibrant” new logo that was then assailed by renewed claims of plagiarism and cries of obscenity.

The new logo features the letter M, the initial of the party’s Japanese name, Minshinto, in a way that resembles two people — one in blue and the other in red — standing arm in arm. The design was chosen from 3,676 entries initially submitted by the public in April.

DP President Katsuya Okada hailed the logo, saying it exudes “a feeling of vibrancy” and embodies the idea of “progressing toward the future.”

“It’s a good logo,” a confident Okada told a news conference Thursday morning.

Despite Okada’s assurances, the logo is nonetheless mired in controversy.

After the logo chosen Thursday advanced to a shortlist of four candidates earlier this month, many people online noted a striking resemblance to that of Mie Prefecture-based confectionery company Imuraya Co.

Prior to the logo’s debut, Okada had personally confirmed with Imuraya that it was OK for the party to adopt the design, DP lawmaker Tetsuro Fukuyama said during the same news conference.

When contacted by The Japan Times, Imuraya spokesman Yasushi Iwamoto said it believed the DP logo was fundamentally different from its own and took no issue with the design. Although both logos appear to feature the letter M, the Imuraya version is a combination of two Is, Iwamoto said.

The online controversy, however, didn’t end there. Some joked that the logo looks as though a man in blue is groping the posterior of a woman in red.

The DP was inaugurated in March after its predecessor, the Democratic Party of Japan, merged with the smaller Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party).