Skip to main content

Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee Holds Press Conference Regarding Olympic Logo Problem

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee held a press conference on Sept. 1 to discuss the problems surrounding the Tokyo Olympics logo designed by Kenjiro Sano.  CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters, "We only heard it from Mr. Sano this morning, but the pictures illustrating usage of the logo were created for internal usage by the review committee at the time the design was submitted.  When the design was announced as the official logo it was the rule that permission needed to be obtained from all relevant copyright holders, but this failed to happen.  The explanation given was that this was due to simple carelessness."

Withregard to the strong similarity between Sano's initial draft design for the logo and a poster for an exhibition held in Tokyo several years ago, Muto commented, "Mr. Sano said, 'I make my designs myself, not in imitation of others, and consider them to be original.  As a designer it is not possible to withdraw a design because people say it is an imitation, and for that my family and I have been subjected to constant slander day and night.  It was a dream of mine as a designer to contribute something to the Olympics, but my contribution has now been rejected by the general public.  Given the damage this has done to the image of the Olympics I now feel that I should withdraw my authorship.'"

Muto continued, "This situation has has caused a great deal of worry to all our citizens and in particular to the people of Tokyo, and we apologize sincerely to the government and all other involved parties.  We intend to move forward immediately in the selection of a new logo and to do this in a fundamentally public way.  We will make a decision as soon as possible and hope that the logo is one which is widely supported and loved by the people of Japan as a symbol of the Tokyo Games."

With regard to the reasons for the withdrawal of Sano's logo Muto commented, "We are confident that the claims of similarity to the Belgian logo are incorrect.  New information came to light on Saturday and by Sunday it was evident that the problem could not be ignored, leading to today's decision to withdraw the logo," indicating that the new issues including the unauthorized appropriation of photos used in Sano's Olympic logo usage images were considered the primary grounds for the decision.

Assigning responsibility for the problems equally to the organizing committee, Sano and the review committee, Muto said, "Beyond just assessing the current situation, it is the responsibility of the organizing committee to move forward with creating a new logo.  We understand Mr. Sano's stance that as a designer, 'there has been no plagiarism or imitation.'  We believe that making the decision to withdraw authorship of the logo indicates an acceptance of responsibility.  With regard to the review committee, having recommended Mr. Sano's design as the best among the entries, making the decision that withdrawing the logo was unavoidable is no doubt also a way of taking responsibility."

Regarding the question of whether Japan's international reputation has been damaged, Muto commented, "This logo was intended to be something that would endure, but it has been determined to no longer be suitable.  By creating a new logo we hope to restore that faith."


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…