Tokyo 2020 logo designer apologises in new plagiarism row


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2015 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

In Europe and North America the copyright in artistic works automatically belongs to the creator of the work, trademark or no trademark.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

With Japan's history of producing great art and great design, and with all of the great art and design currently being produced by Japanese artists and designers, it would be nice to think that a Japanese-themed design will be chosen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Predictable, but this article leaves out the following:

He apologized for the copying, which he said was done by subordinates, noting that he, who is responsible for overseeing his employees, had no idea that the designs he approved were imitations of other people’s work.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Designer: N. America and Europe are not the center of the world. This copyright issue is one of the things in TPP I believe.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sad to think that if there hadn't been a row over the Olympic logo then he (or his subordinates) may have gotten away with this Suntory plagiarism.

This guy is now tainted goods. Regardless of the court decision with the theater, what should have been the biggest contract of his career (the Olympic logo) will now make any future client very nervous, especially in over-cautious Japan. Business is gonna be tough.

A couple days ago several people were on here defending him in the comments. Where are they now?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Will the 2020 Olympics actually happen??

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It seems that everyone already knew he did it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“I feel very sorry for causing great trouble to the people concerned,” Sano said, adding he had taken the consequences seriously.

Typical cowardly Japanese apology -- "causing trouble". How about being a real man about it and admit that you are nothing but an over-rated fraud? It was only a couple of years ago that Abe stood in front of the IOC and promised a compact, well-organized and flawless Olympics. Now they've moved events further out, thrown away the design for the Olympic stadium, and, got caught plagiarising the logo. Like I said before, Japan Inc. sure ain't what it used to be

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Aw man, its getting even worse. I just saw this (in Japanese):

Its an article about an American designer now also planning to sue Sano over plageriarism, but the really disgraceful part is in the comments. Scroll down to see a graph someone made which shows all the connections between Sano and the Olympic judges.

Its a pretty complex web, but what it shows is that there's an old boys club of designers (and a woman) who all have worked together, are friends with eachother, and are related to one-another. There are direct professional links between Sano and several of the judges, not to mention how Sano was also a judge (along with others in the same small group) for another major competition where one of the Olympic judges was the winner.

Wow, this is now getting really messy.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Design copyright is only local unless an international copyright has been applied. Whether his design of the Olympic logo is a copy or not, it's still a very embarrassing scenario. He and his agency would have been paid handsomely for this creation that probably took less than hour to copy and change a few colors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Copyright in Japan arises automatically for any work created in, or by citizens, in any of the countries which are signatories to the Berne Convention (and the TRIPS Agreement). There is no need to register your design anywhere in an international database or to put the little © symbol beside your work to have it protected in Japan. So copyright in the Liege Theatre logo exist in Japan and they can sue Sano in Japan. The key difficulty is proving that it has actually been copied because innocent and independent creation of a similar, or even the exact same design would not amount to copyright infringement.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is ridiculously embarrassing. It wouldn't surprise me if we see a few more cases pop up real soon.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"“Following our in-house investigation, it was found that we traced designs created by a third party for part of our designs,”

Love the passive voice. The guy has a chance to say, "We did it. I'm sorry. I'm responsible." But no, the typical, "I was unaware of what a subordinate did" (in which case he is a terrible editor, and still responsible), and oh how tough and thorough this investigation must have been!

"Sano has refuted the claims as “completely baseless.”"

Obviously they are NOT baseless, given that you have now admitted to copying work. On the contrary, it stands to reason that since the design and FONT are EXACTLY the same as the Belgium design, save colour scheme (which you stole from Spain's poster), you employed the same 'skills' to make the design as you have with the tote bags for Suntory, and other works.

MyTimeIsYourTime: "N. America and Europe are not the center of the world. This copyright issue is one of the things in TPP I believe."

Ah, that's right! You want Japan to still be able to copy and claim it's original without impunity! And no, you're wrong anyway. The copyright issues that would change over the TPP regard the length of rights of recording artists (from 50 years to 70). The artists Sano copied here still have the rights on their works, and given Sano is toting himself as "The artist of the Games" -- a major international event -- he needs to follow copyright laws even if they differ in Japan. And obviously there are problems or he would not be asking Suntory to withdraw so many.

This is the talent Japan brings to the world stage?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan has really talented artists, since both real art and graphic design are one and the same and not split up as much as in other countries. Really great work out there that can inspire, so I don't get this rush for mediocrity. Why is this happening? I hope Japan can find its amazing talented artists again. I'm glad this happened in a small way though; this logo looked like an ad for a shampoo. I hope this means they will get a new one that looks happier

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How to make a link 101.

and put the URL between them. Easy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is it even possible to come up with a 2D design that is not going to be strikingly similar to some one else's design of something? Without even a picture of the Suntory design I cannot judge whether it was plagiarism or if the design was simply inspired by the other. And such works inspiring others is very common and its very hard to discern what was plain old copying of the work which is wrong and copying of the style which is okay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Europe and North America the copyright in artistic works automatically belongs to the creator of the work, trademark or no trademark.

Except also under the law, trademark and copyright are different things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks @MyTimeIsYourTime, I must have hit 'quote' instead of 'link'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the originality should override the network thing (as in the link by Supey11) because that shows how mature you are. while the network is important with friends and relatives, that doesn't mean that you can then just do whatever you want taking others' works as yours, it's plain childish. especially in event like the world cup.

it looks like networks in japan are more important than the value of the work being assessed. perhaps not only in this one but in other areas as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I hope every artist who was copied from sues or demands restitution. It is frustrating for an artist (who typically makes little as it is) to see their art copied and sold.

Moreover, I'm tired of seeing this stupid ignorance of Japanese bosses of things they put their name on. When you sign the documents or put your name on things, you take responsibility.

I get it when it's a big company with thousands of employees where the boss has to vet a supervisor and trust them to make correct decisions. But this is a fashion-logo-design company. They've got what, 100 employees tops?

BTW Sano's webpage is currently just a huge apology letter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The guy has just been caught for copying a Costa Rica zoo design for 'his' design for a zoo in Japan. They are identical, and he just changed the colour of the symbol and added a monkey in the background. Has this guy done ANYTHING that was original? What's more, they've discovered that he DID indeed have a Pinterest account, after he lied about not having one where he could easily have seen the Belgium design and 'gotten his "inspiration"' from. Once it was discovered by the media and printed that he did in fact have an account and it was still be used regular, the account name was changed and then disappeared.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites