Fukuoka artist Ryo Taniguchi has for more than two decades been designing comic characters used in teaching materials for primary school students, and he sells original products on the streets. Thanks to his familiarity with pop culture, Taniguchi's designs, Miraitowa and Someity, were selected as the official mascots of the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics to be held in Japan.
Through these two fictional characters, Taniguchi showcases his understanding of Japanese culture. The characters sport traditional checkered ichimatsu patterns, and they wear helmets that are like the ones worn by the samurai.
Taniguchi says the designs show the all-embracing side of Japanese culture, and adds that he came up with the designs at the Beijing 2022 Mascots Design Forum held on Oct 7, at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
The event was to draw on the legacy of the image designing of previous Olympic Games, and to inspire the development of mascot designs and merchandise for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing and the towns in neighboring Hebei province.
The forum also featured Maria Elizabeth da Silva Lula who was the brand director of the organizing committee for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and Chinese designer Yue Xin, a five time-winner of the prestigious Red Dot Award.