While Japan has mascots for seemingly almost every product, company and region, there aren’t any for the 2020 Games — yet! The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced at a press conference on Monday that it would outsource the design creation of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots (one for each event) to residents of Japan, regardless of nationality. A mascot review panel will make a shortlist of the submitted entries, but the final decision will be made by the votes of thousands of elementary school students across the nation.

Yoshiko Ikoma, Vice Chairperson of the Mascot Selection Process Panel said, “We think this process gives the public — and especially schoolchildren — a unique opportunity to participate in the design and selection process.”

A creative brief is available detailing all of the submission requirements and rules, which are quite extensive.

The timeline for the design and selection process will be as follows:

  • August 1 to 14, 2017 – design submission period (submission via a special website)
  • December 2017 – mascot panel selects shortlist of design sets
  • December 2017 to January 2018 – elementary school children vote on the shortlist
  • March 2018 – design set with the largest number of votes is announced as the winner
  • July to August 2018 – mascot panel decides names for the winning mascots

More information about the project can be found on the Tokyo 2020 website, and through the official submission guidelines, as well as the application FAQ.