'No truth' to plagiarism claims: Tokyo 2020 logo designer

Wed Aug 5, 2015 1:27am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese designer behind the logo for the 2020 Summer Olympics said on Wednesday there is "absolutely no truth" to claims it was plagiarized from a Belgian design, while Tokyo Games officials said legally there is no problem.

Questions about the 2020 logo arose last week when Belgian designer Olivier Debie said it was too similar to his design for the Theatre de Liege and that he was consulting lawyers, who sent a letter to Japanese organizers last week demanding a response.

Kenjiro Sano told a packed news conference in downtown Tokyo that he had never, and would never, plagiarize any design.

He considered his Olympics logo a career "masterpiece".

"It was a great honor to take part in the design competition, and I wanted to pour all my experience up until then into it. It took several days," Sano said.

"Of course I didn't take that (logo) as an example, there is absolutely nothing to that talk."

Sano's design centers around "T" for Tokyo and echoes the Japanese flag with its round red sun. Inspiration came from type fonts Didot and Bodoni, which he said had an appealing strength and sensitivity.

The overall layout is meant to suggest a circle in homage to the logo for the 1964 Summer Games, which Tokyo also hosted.   Continued...

Kenjiro Sano, designer of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games logos, explains about the designs during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, August 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino