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When Ryo Taniguchi, designer of the official mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was thinking about studying abroad as a teenager, his illustrator father gave him some sage advice: take the scenic route.

Taniguchi, whose winning designs of two futuristic, rooted-in-culture characters were selected by elementary school students nationwide and overseas, heeded his father’s call, which set him on his career path.

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