Who are Miraitowa and Someity? Meet the Tokyo Olympics mascots with superpowers
Around 6.5 million Japanese elementary school students cast their votes to select their favorite mascot designs
Ever since the creation of Waldi, born on December 15, 1969 at a Munich Games Organising Committee Christmas party, and eventually became the first official mascot in the history of the Olympic Summer Games in 1972 in Munich, mascots have become an integral part of the Games. Waldi was a colorful dachshund, a popular animal in Bavaria, famed for its endurance, tenacity, and agility.
Since Waldi, there have been many Olympics mascots. 2016 saw Vinicius, a hybrid animal representing all Brazilian mammals at Rio de Janeiro. The Games in Beijing in 2008 had Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini. Athens had Athena and Phevos.
Japanese mascots for Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot, as per the official website, is styled with the Ai (indigo blue) Ichimatsu pattern from the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem, a tribute to both the respected tradition and modern innovation of Japanese culture.” Named Miraitowa, the mascot supposedly has a personality inspired by the Japanese proverb, “learn from the past and develop new ideas”. Miraitowa, the Games’ official website claims, is “cheerful and remarkably athletic, with a very strong sense of integrity. It has a special power to instantly teleport anywhere it wants.” The name “Miraitowa” comes from the Japanese words "mirai", meaning “future”, and "towa", meaning “eternity”, representing the “wish that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will lead to a future of everlasting hope in the hearts of everyone around the world.” Miraitowa has its own official Instagram account where it shares photos of and announcements regarding the Games. But Miraitowa also has a counterpart.
Who is Someity?
Someity is the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mascot and is supposedly “quite a cool character, with mighty powers and cherry blossom tactile sensors.” Someity, per the website, can use the sensors on the sides of its head for telepathic powers, fly using its Ichimatsu-pattern cape and even move objects without touching them.”
Someity also supposedly has a calm and quiet presence, “guided by great inner strength, but can display superpowers that embody the toughness and determination of the Paralympic athletes. Someity loves being in nature, and can communicate with natural elements, such as stones and the wind.” As per the Olympics website, the name “Someity” comes from "Someiyoshino", a popular type of cherry blossom, and the phrase "so mighty". Someity, per the organizers, “can show enormous mental and physical strength, representing Paralympic athletes who overcome obstacles and redefine the boundaries of possibility.” And like Miraitowa, Someity also has its own Instagram page. As per Time magazine, Miraitowa’s first appearance was at a naming ceremony at the Tokyo Midtown Hibiya in the middle of modern Tokyo, where it appeared alongside Someity. Miraitowa’s selection was based on inputs from over 75 percent of Japanese elementary schools, who voted for their favorite mascot designs. Around 6.5 million elementary school students cast their votes.
Ryo Taniguchi, the designer of the official mascots, said that it was only by chance that he saw on Facebook in February of 2017 that there would be a Tokyo 2020 mascot competition. He said, “I thought of submitting a proposal, and what came to mind was using the ichimatsu moyo checkered patterns of the (Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic) logos. I thought there should be a Japanese style since these are the Tokyo Games.” He also said he struck upon the idea of having the Olympic mascot’s head resemble a samurai war helmet, and using the ichimatsu moyo motif that became popular during the Edo Period. He said, “I made a rough drawing of it and kept the idea on the back-burner until the official application requirements came out, and after that, I reworked it and made it based on my original design.” He added, “I integrate Japanese nature, tradition, and the country’s future. It’s the selling point. So it’s not just Japanese but has those elements." Asked what the mascots mean for Tokyo 2020, Taniguchi said, “I think the characters, just like the logos, will become the faces of the games, the gatekeepers.”