Tokyo Mascots Unveiled

Organizers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled the event mascots in February. Two humanoid characters clad in traditional Japanese checkered patterns.

More than 2,000 entries were whittled down to 3 options. The final choice was left to students from 16,000 schools across Japan, who cast their ballots.

"I'm happy because that's my choice," says a boy.

"I like the cherry blossom patterns," says a girl.

Ryo Taniguchi was behind the winning design. He says he was inspired to create something simple and Japanese.

"I thought the fusion of futuristic images and tradition represents Tokyo and Japan," he says. "That's what I was thinking when I created the characters."

The mascots seem to be getting a good reception.

"They look cute and are likable for everyone," one woman says.

"Very nice. Very energetic," says a woman from Austria.

"They look simple, but Japanese-like with a logo to match," one man says. "It's a good choice to promote Japan."

The governor of Tokyo was also impressed.

"It's cool, and shares the same design as the emblem," says Yuriko Koike.

Picking the emblem wasn't without controversy. The initial choice had to be scrapped after accusations of plagiarism. Organizers were also criticized for making the decision behind closed-doors.

That's part of the reason why they wanted to get kids involved with choosing the mascots. Their names will be announced later this summer.