The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Unveiled

The Rio 2016 Olympics have just wrapped up, but the anticipation for the next Olympics games has just began with the unveiling of the logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

But the release has been initially fraught with controversy, following a number of plagiarism claims made last year, which caused the Tokyo Olympics Committee to withdraw the logo.


The new, Kabuki-inspired logo called the Harmonized Chequered Emblem was the final pick out of the four short-listed finalists in the open competition last fall (which received 14,599 entries). It was designed by Asao Tokolo, a 46-year-old artist from the Tokyo Zokei University. The logo features a checkered pattern that traces its origin from the Edo period, known as theichimatsu moyo.

Tokolo was inspired by “a coloring picture that everyone can add their own color to.” The winning design was remarkably different from the traditional colorful iterations of the Olympics. “White against indigo blue — it’s a very clean-cut expression. The games will also be held during summertime and I wanted to add some coolness into my design,” Tokolo said. Furthermore, the choice of the traditional indigo blue signifies the “refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.”

In addition, the Tokyo Olympics Committee said, “Composed of three varieties of rectangular shapes, the design represents different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. It also expresses that the Olympic and Paralympic Games seek to promote diversity as a platform to connect the world.”


The four designs meticulously underwent copyright checks and the selection of the winner was made with the help of the public via online voting and postcard comments. Asao Tokolo’s design received 13 votes and a unanimous board approval.