Olympic organizers defend designer over logo; deny it's copied


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..didn't the designer just admit around last week that his firm did, in fact, copy the logo and many others? And that's why they had Suntory pull some designs...?

Or am I caught in a time loop?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There is absolutely NO doubt the man copied the logo, and has copied dozens of other logos in the past to date, including stealing images and merely rotating them a few degrees, or adding a slightly different coloured background, with the latest copy being from a zoo in Costa Rica.

"They said a circle on the background was added later as the design was amended after the organizers found a logo that carried some similarity during their trademark search around the world to avoid any legal infringement."

Okay, wait... so, Sano copied the Theatre to Liege logo after already having copied another logo that was registered under trademark? And these guys are saying he cannot be doubted??

Hurry up and change to the folding fan logo. You know you're going to have to, and you know that the longer you insist it was not copied the more people are going to have to publicly apologize and take the fall. If you agree to retract "Sano's" design and adopt a new one now, you can say, "We were unaware that, in fact, Sano did seem to have osme copyright problems in the past and may have borrowed the image, knowingly or not. More importantly, the new image of the folding fan falls more in line with the traditional Japanese images and values that the new stadium is going to bring, rather than the focus on modern design and technology."

There -- I gave you a perfect out.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... it's a duck. It's plagiarism, plain and simple.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't live in Tokyo, is their widespread use of this logo now? These clowns better hurry and fix this problem or they're not going to be able to proceed with any advertisement. Corporations are not going to want to proceed with anything to do with this logo until the Belgium law suit is over and that they are absolutely sure that their investments won't go up in smoke like the stadium fiasco.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Copied or not, this is just another example of Japan's cluelessness of how they are perceived.

For DECADES Japan has been known as the country that "copies" everybody else.

Do they really think that all they need to do is say, "Oh, no, we didn't copy this!" and everybody is going to believe this?

I suspect the 2020 olympics will make Japan MORE of the world's laughingstock.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

kaynide, I'm in the same time loop...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wish I had the link right now, but 2chan (I think? Or somewhere..) composed an image showing about 20 or so different logo designs he had done, and how similar (or in some cases, completely copied) from the original they were.

I also read that the logo design competition rules were setup in such a way that only a very few people would be able to enter (there was some bizarrely specific list of accolades/awards that you needed to have previously won in order to enter - conveniently, they matched up with this guys' awards). The speculation being that he was more or less decided from the beginning, possibly due to kickbacks (wouldn't surprise me...), and this would explain why "The organizers said Sano’s design was outstanding and didn’t consider other options, and refused to disclose the other two of the top three designs."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not that it might have been copied that's the problem. It's just damn ugly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Well, they have wasted no time in starting to use the logos. In fact, when you arrive at Narita and come into the arrival lobby, they are featured prominently, so all people coming into Japan via Narita see them.


I have heard that Sano, the designer, has a number of connections in the government and that his selection was almost pre-ordained. I am working to track down the confirming information. However, if that is the case, this would explain why the government would continue to stick by him even though it is clear that he is a serial plagiarist and most definitely "borrowed" from the Belgian design.

@Argus Tuft,

Well, it is that it is damn ugly AND that it is copied!

So, what happens if the Belgian designer wins the lawsuit?? Can the IOC force the Tokyo Organizing Committee to change the logo? This has all the hallmarks of a debacle in the making.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They said a circle on the background was added later as the design was amended after the organizers found a logo that carried some similarity during their trademark search around the world to avoid any legal infringement.

So, in other words, they knew there were problems with the logo early on, but chose to go ahead anyway. One really has to wonder who the "brains" are behind the Tokyo Olympic effots are, given the seemingly endless stream of problems. What a fiasco.

He eventually acknowledged some of the designs used in a brewery promotional campaign carried copies of others’ works, though he held his assistants responsible.

Typical Japanese male reaction -- blame others. Never take any personal responsibility, even though by doing that, he is admitting that he is a fraud, by taking credit for other people's work. Guess my comparison of this guy to the fraudulent composer was 100% on target afterall, even though at least one poster here contested that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I find the rationale of these people annoying. According to these people, it isn’t perceived as copying or rather, it is ok to copy something as long as the copied material isn’t registered? Apparently not, but at such an event, you would want something completely original and as a designer, you would have some pride in what you do and put something else on paper.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Things we have learned from this window-dressing exercise:

Sano admits copying the work of other people on occasion, but he chooses to bury his assistants rather than taking it on the chin himself. Not my kind of guy.

The organizers said Sano’s design was outstanding and didn’t consider other options.

So the whole selection process was rigged from the get-go. Perhaps the organizers should contact me, I can put them in touch with a number of internationally-renowned Japanese designers and architects (including a professor at my Japanese alma mater) whose resumes make Sano's look like toilet paper.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sheer lunacy! Clearly the logo is plagiarism, they have ADMITTED it & now after doing so have the gall to say its OK to plagiarize..... WTF!

The amount of incompetence around these Olympics is truly staggering & its just getting started, I bet we are in for a lot more scandals & just imagine how many scams & how much thieving are WONT see!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They don't even understand the difference between registered trademark and copyright. An Olympic logo as a symbol of cheating. Shameless and embarrassing. As a sponsor I wouldn't want to be affiliated with this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Argus Tuft

…and just plain booooring!!!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Zone2Surf: Even if the IOC has no teeth in this and/or somehow the designer is in fact telling the truth about not copying...the logo is already tainted and should be changed regardless.

Personally I hope the Belgian theater rolls up to the Olympics with banners etc to try and hijack the free marketing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland: "Where did they admit the logo is plagiarized?"

They admitted that the 'original' design, which had the circle added to it later, was very similar (which means 'exactly' in Japan-speak) and therefore should be adjusted. Ergo, not doing so would have been enough for trademark issues to arise. You can pretend that's not plagiarism if you like. It's still a pig with the lipstick on.

The guy is a fraud, and a plagiarist, and the nation is embarrassing itself in sticking by him and his copies. And Jerseyboy is right as well -- the guy admits he doesn't do his own work when he blames the copying on assistants (and he evidently didn't proof it?). But he has no problem taking credit for it until they're caught.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

From what I saw on the news, they said that the original draft of the design was a capital T, and that it had to be changed because it was similar to too many other logos. That is probably when Sano dropped the left half of the T. I'm not defending Sano, but I really think it was just by chance. The tote bag designs, on the other hand, were a fiasco...

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Also, the guy's webpage is currently a huge apology letter about copying logos, specifically the Suntory stuff.

Basically, even if the Olympic logo is in fact NOT a copy, he has so much stuff in his firm that is copied that he simply can't be given the benefit of the doubt.

IE there is enough incriminating evidence to say he's guilty.

Also, @Jerseyboy: Not sure on details, but the below source says he blames his staff for the bags, but claims the Olympic design as his own. So while he is scapegoating on the Suntory case, he is accepting responsibility for the logo...although he and the IOC claim there is no copyright infringement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


是非ご覧頂き、もしこの提案を支持して下さる場合は『いいね』をお願いいたします。 This alternative proposal was created for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium and more importantly the people of Japan and the world. Please have a look and like the page if you support the idea. The design is property of the author please do not copy it Japanese government !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perhaps they should say, "Hey, it DOES look similar, but you know what? We're getting a new stadium design, so we're going to redesign the logo too." Just avoid this issue completely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where did they admit the logo is plagiarized?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Even if you didn't plagiarise and came up with it on your own, if it looks the same as an existing logo you can't use it. Just like if I arrive at the Apple Computer logo completely independently on my own, I can't label my products with it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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