Tokyo Olympics embraces avant-garde design, including manga

Official Tokyo Olympics posters

‘The Sky Above the Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa’ by manga artist Hirohiko Araki. Image courtesy of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee

TOKYO (AP) – The official posters are out for this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The 20 posters have been created by 19 artists in fields ranging from painting, graphic design and photography. Calligraphy and Japanese manga are also represented. Manga is the Japanese art of comics and cartooning, which is famous in the host country.

The posters were first put on display on Monday at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. They will remain on display at the museum in east Tokyo through Feb. 16.

The posters are a tradition at every Olympics and Paralympics, and many previous posters have become collector’s items. The requirement to create posters is set out in the so-called “host city contract” in which the International Olympic Committee establishes the rules for the preparation and management of the games.

The Summer Olympics open at Tokyo’s new National Stadium on July 24 and are followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 25.

Of the 20 posters, 12 are based on Olympic themes and eight were inspired by the Paralympics. Several feature wheelchairs, including a graphic vision of the violence in the sport of wheelchair rugby.

Many of the images are far from traditional, showcasing bright colors and curious forms. In many of the avant-garde images it is difficult to discern the exact tie to the Olympics or Paralympics. Very few even feature a prominent display of the Tokyo Olympic or Paralympic logos.

That also goes for the five Olympic rings, which are seldom featured.

Some of the titles are also eye-catching: Space Kicker by painter Shinro Ohtake; The Sky Above the Great Wave off the coast of Kanagawa by manga artist Hirohiko Araki; Open by calligrapher Koji Kakinuma; Higher than the Rainbow by photographer Mika Ninagawa; Offense No. 7 by artist Tomoyuki Shinki; and flow line by graphic designer Daijiro Ohaha.


By STEPHEN WADE, AP Sports Writer

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