A big part of the pitch for the 2020 Games by the Japan Olympic Committee to the IOC in 2013 was that the Tokyo Olympics would appeal to youth. Along those lines, new sports added to the Games in 2020 are skateboarding, surfing and rock climbing.
At the Tokyo 2020 preview at the end of the Rio Olympics closing ceremony, the world was pleasantly surprised by the emergence of Prime Minister Abe as the world-renown game character, Super Mario.
And last week, Tokyo2020 announced the lineup of its anime ambassadors for the Tokyo Olympics. They include such globally recognized characters as Sailor Moon, Goku from Dragon Ball, Crayon Shin-chan and a classic character that was a huge hit in Japan in the 1950s and was broadcast in the US in the 1960s, Astro Boy.
Anime, the catch-all phrase for Japanese produced comics or animated television or film, has enjoyed a boom internationally. It is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States alone. Japanese manga in English can be found liberally in bookstores or online. Japanese anime film directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka are global icons. And of course, illustrated characters from Japanese games, television programs and films are re-drawn in daydream doodles, their costumes adorned, and their merchandise snapped up the world over.
So yes, who will begrudge the TOCOG (Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee) the opportunity to make a few extra gazillion yen with Tokyo2020-Sailor Moon bags, and Tokyo2020-Dragon Ball hats.
You can buy your Tokyo2020 swag here.
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