Tokyo 2020 organizers unveil bug-eyed Olympic mascot hopefuls

Tokyo 2020 mascot designs shortlisted for children's vote

Final selections for Tokyo 2020 mascot design to face student vote for first time ever

Today, the six finalists for the 2020 Olympics mascot were unveiled in a primary school in Tokyo, and we think they're all winners.

Elementary school students will choose their favorite design from December 11 through February 22, with each class casting a single vote.

"The first set is a pair of humanoid characters clad in the "ichimatsu" checkered pattern of the Games" official logo. The second set features a lucky cat and fox hybrid, said to be good luck, and a guardian dog that is a popular fixture at Japanese shrines. There are about 20,000 elementary schools with about 280,000 classrooms nationwide.

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"I am really excited that we are getting closer to unveiling our official mascots", said Ryohei Miyata, the Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Mascot Selection Panel.

The third set of red and white characters with ribbons used as celebratory ornaments - a fox for the Olympics and a tanuki (raccoon dog) for the Paralympics - has been inspired by traditional fairy tales.

The winning mascot designs are expected to be decided on February 28.

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The finalists consist of three pairs of mascots, with one for the Olympics and one for the Paralympics.

TV personality Shoko Nakagawa, another member of the screening committee, called the student vote "historic" given that mascots were not used in 1964. Repeatedly checking the parameters for the design and having the works examined by experts, the three pairs were narrowed down after making sure they did not violate any intellectual property rights such as trademarks.

Schools must register to participate, and the organizers said that 4,150 schools were registered as of Thursday at noon. Global schools in Japan, as well as Japanese schools overseas, will be included in the voting process. The names of the chosen mascots are expected to be released in July to August of the same year.

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