The names of Japan’s mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been unveiled as Miraitowa and Someity.
Blue and white checked character “MIraitowa” (pronounced miray-towa)– combining the two Japanese words of “Mirai”(future) and “towa” (eternity) — will appear at the Olympic Games.
The Paralympics’ pink and white “Someity” (pronounced soh-may-tee) is named after the cherry blossom variety “Someiyoshino,” with Games organizers saying the name echoes “so mighty” in English.
In December last year, Tokyo 2020 released a shortlist of mascot pairs and asked schoolchildren in Japan and Japanese schools outside the country to vote for their favorites, in a process called “Get Set” in whic more than 16,700 schools participated.
“Yoi Don” translated in English as “Get Set” was a voting process which is part of the country’s nationwide education program which aims to teach children the values of the Games and allow them to get involved in initiatives linked to Tokyo 2020.
The two futuristic, superhero creatures’ profile pages describe their personalities.
Miraitowa is a character “that embodies both old tradition and new innovation,” says the description.
“(Miraitowa) has an old-fashioned charm that reflects tradition and also has a high-tech, cutting edge vibe. It has strong sense of justice, and is very athletic. The Mascot has a special power allowing it to move any where instantaneously,” it said.
Miraitowa is said to be “very good friends” with Someity, who is a “cool character with cherry tactile sense.
“(Someity) is usually calm, however, it gets very powerful when needed. It has a dignified inner strength and a kind heart that loves nature. It can talk with stones and the wind. It can also move things by just looking at them,” according to the profile.
Since 1968 mascots have been used at the Olympic Games to represent the culture of the host country. There have been mascots of all shapes and sizes — from dachshunds to bears, Greek gods to alien-like hybrids that incorporated aspects of the host’s culture, history or wildlife.
The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on July 24, 2020, and run through until August 9, while the Paralympics will take place between August 25 and September 6.