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Before the pandemic, the Japanese designer who created the Olympic and Paralympic mascots predicted that they would become the “face of the Games.”

It hasn’t quite turned out that way. The two mascots are ubiquitous in the Olympic merchandise being sold around Tokyo as the Games unfold. But in a country where mascots play a major role in corporate branding and merchandising, they have mostly been a subdued presence at the very event they were made for.

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