Tokyo Olympics begins hunt for new logo after plagiarism row

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After ditching its Kenjiro Sano-designed logo in a plagiarism row, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organisers have launched a search for a new design.

Kenjiro Sano's Olympic and Paralympic logos were ditched earlier this month following a plagiarism row
Kenjiro Sano’s Olympic and Paralympic logos were ditched earlier this month following a plagiarism row

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee has begun its search for a new logo after its previous effort was scrapped in a plagiarism row.

The original Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic logos – designed by Kenjiro Sano, were unveiled in July.

However, they were ditched only a few weeks later following a plagiarism row which saw Belgian designer Olivier Debie has claim that the Tokyo identity is too similar to an identity he created for Theatre de Liege in 2011.

“A fresh start”

Announcing the decision to drop Sano’s design at the start of this month, Toshio Muto, director general of the Tokyo organising committee, said: “The decision to make a fresh start in creating a new logo seems to be the most appropriate.”

Muto added: “We have an understanding that the design shows enough evidence of being different [to other designs] and, as Mr Sano suggested, the design is recognised as being an original by Mr Sano and the design committee has agreed with this assessment.

“However at the same time, when the issue has been expanded upon this far without gaining an understanding from the general public, we find this to be a problem.”

Selection committee of athletes, academics and lawyers

The Tokyo organizing committee is now setting up a preliminary committee to start the hunt for a new logo for the Games.

The committee will be headed up by Ryohei Miyata, president of the Tokyo University of the Arts and also includes university professors, broadcasters, former athletes and a lawyer.

Miyata says: “There is a great deal of interest among the general public about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic emblems. My appointment as chair of the preliminary committee that will pave the way for the creation of new Games emblems brings with it a heavy responsibility, however, it is also a tremendous honour.”

Scrapping decision will be examined

He adds: “To ensure the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games, it is essential that we actively engage as many people as possible. We will exert our utmost efforts towards the selection of emblems that the people of Japan can be proud of, and that will inspire excitement and passion throughout the whole of the country.”

The preliminary committee will meet later this month and is tasked with examining the decision to scrap the previous logo, formulating a policy for choosing a new logo and appointing a committee to select the new designs.

Discover more:

• Tokyo Olympics scraps logo in plagiarism row

 Plagiarist or not, Tokyo 2020 designer Kenjiro Sano doesn’t deserve this treatment

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• Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic logos play with negative space

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