Superheroes picked for Tokyo 2020
TOKYO – Agence France-Presse
Tokyo unveiled yesterday its long-awaited mascot for the 2020 Olympic Games: a futuristic blue-checked, doe-eyed character with pointy ears and “special powers” that was picked by schoolchildren across mascot-mad Japan.
The mascot, which has yet to be named, was selected by elementary school kids from a shortlist of three competitors instantly recognizable as “made in Japan.”
The students picked option “A,” which, according to the Tokyo 2020 organizers, has a “strong sense of justice and is very athletic.”
Helpfully, it also has a magical power that enables it “to move anywhere instantaneously.” Its Paralympic counterpart sports pink checks derived from Japan’s famous cherry blossom and is “usually calm, however, it gets very powerful when needed.” Its magic power: “It can talk with stones and the wind. It can also move things by just looking at them.”
The pair, which have “opposite personalities” but are “very good friends,” received over 100,000 votes -- more than the other two design sets combined.
Mascots are massive in Japan, the land of Hello Kitty and Pokemon, and there are literally thousands representing everything from small
communities to prisons. Known locally as “yuru-kyara” or “laid-back characters,” mascots can also be major money-spinners.
The pot-bellied, red-cheeked bear known as Kumamon - created in 2010 to promote Japan’s southern Kumamoto region - raked in $8.8 million last year for local businesses selling branded products.