The pair of mascots, which were designed by Ryo Taniguchi and selected by students from nearly 17,000 elementary schools in Japan, were named as Miraitowa and Someity at a ceremony in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya on July 22nd attended by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Tokyo 2020 committee president Yoshiro Mori.
Miraitowa (pronounced mee-rah-e-toh-wa) is the Olympic mascot and is inspired by the Japanese words mirai (future) and towa (eternity). “This name,” organizers said, “was chosen to promote a future full of eternal hope in the hearts of people all over the world.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic mascot is Someity (pronounced soh-may-tee), deriving from the cherry blossom someiyoshino and with hints of the English phrase “so mighty.”
Someity “has tactile cherry blossom sensors and exhibits enormous mental and physical strength,” organizers explained. “It represents Paralympic athletes who overcome obstacles and redefine the boundaries of what is possible.”
The two mascots will participate in various events up to and throughout the Tokyo 2020 Games. The role of Miraitowa and Someity is, organizers say, “communicating the Olympic and Paralympic spirit, and contributing to the excitement of the Games during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, at Games venues and around town [sic].”
Meanwhile a heat wave that has caused multiple deaths across the country has raised concerns about the safety of athletes, staff, volunteers, and spectators during the actual Games, which will start in two years’ time. Organizers have responded by rescheduling the marathon event to begin in the early morning.