2015.11.22 Sunday

015 Is the money mindset relative to paying respect?

In this segment I will start off by contemplating the judging fee, or “compensation for judges” (as described in the official documents) and give my thoughts on the relationship between the money mindset of the Organizing Committee and show of (or lack of) respect.

In regards to judging fees, I had my own private policy that there should be no fees paid out for such roles. When I voiced my intentions of waiving compensation I met a lot of reluctance. So I thought things over and decided to accept the offer because I didn’t want to cause any disruption by going against rules for such a “public” event; furthermore, things were moving fast with very limited time. The fee was set at 23,200 yen per day: 69,000 yen for the three-day review (including transportation). In order to receive the payment I was asked to fill out a total of four documents including a “consent form”, a “note regarding compensation for the judges” and a “bank transfer application”, sign my name and affix my personal seal to each—the paperwork involved seemed a bit excessive. But on the other hand I had a favorable impression that they were being careful about money and expenses. I am speaking about a single event here, but when I think about the long road ahead leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, though I am no expert on such matters, I do get worried when I imagine the huge workload of the people in charge of accounting.

I returned the payment I received for my task by registered mail to the Organizing Committee official in mid-September. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic logo was officially withdrawn on September 1, 2015. When I looked backed upon the string of events starting from the time when I was invited to sit on the judging panel, up to the final withdrawal of the emblem. I remembered the deep frustration bubbling inside me against the Organizing Committee, especially its behavior after the press conference held on August 5. I could not allow myself to keep the money, not even a penny that I received from the Organizing Committee— which prompted me to take action and return the money. As time went by, and considering the fact that the judging session itself was invalidated, I began to wonder about other things—maybe the judging fees were paid out of taxpayers’ money of Tokyo citizens. I noticed some discrepancies—it was stipulated that the money was for three days of judging, but in fact, judges only spent two days for the task. All things considered, I decided that I was not going to hang on to the money.

As I was going to return precious money, compensation that was offered to judges on the panel, which I had accepted at one point, I wanted to make sure the money was delivered safely to the official in charge, and to confirm the money would be properly accounted for. Before and after sending it back, I sent emails to the three relevant officials of the Organizing Committee, announcing my intentions about returning the money. Two months have passed since, but I have not received any confirmation of receipt of the money. Mid-September, I could well imagine how things must have been going crazy in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the emblem. My returning of the judging fee would have been a trifling matter, I am sure. So after some time had passed, I contacted a committee official who had been newly appointed as a replacement. But still there was no response.

On September 4, the Organizing Committee revealed a detailed breakdown of expenses related to the emblem competition, the actual review, the selection and unveiling of the official emblem.

Costs incurred for international trademark research and application for registration: about ¥47 million
Costs for launching competition website, compensation for judges, other related expenses including venue rental: about ¥9 million
Printing costs for posters and business cards, etc.: about ¥1 million
Costs incurred for official emblem unveiling event held July 24: about ¥69 million

According to this breakdown, the committee was willing to splurge 69 million yen for the emblem unveiling ceremony, an event that lasted for a mere few hours. I was amazed by their mindset regarding money—I wondered where it came from. The committee came up with this idea of developing and springing an emblem unveiling event. I remembered that it had also given top priority to the development power of the emblem design—it was so stated in the judging criteria for selecting the emblem. Is there any relevance here? Do I sense a certain cause-and-effect?

When I saw the photo of the emblem unveiling ceremony, I suddenly had a flashback of the image of another press conference: the occasion when the name of the new Japanese era, “Heisei” was revealed. This “unveiling” was a super-simple ceremony, with Keizo Obuchi, the chief secretary of the cabinet declaring that the name of the new era was “Heisei”, upholding a board, crisp white, with the kanji characters “Heisei” written on it. There was no fussy staging. It was a simple affair. But the manner was extremely beautiful, and the picture struck me as being very honest, imbued with integrity. The declaration of the name of a new era was a solemn ceremony that took place after the demise of the Emperor Showa—reflecting a grave sadness. Inevitably, it had to be a tranquil event, signifying the deep mourning of the people. That said, as a form, there was virtue in its frugality. The manner was refreshingly pure. It was a beautiful sight that made us see the philosophy of beauty, the aesthetics of the Japanese people. 

The unveiling of the emblem was a grandiose event in stark contrast to the beautiful scene from the past. To spend a stunning 69 million yen for the event seems, from the common-sense of things, outrageously spendthrift, the opposite of taking good care of “public” money. It shows a very special mindset towards money. I wonder if the ceremony was worth it—was there sufficient value, did it bear results. Finally, I feel there is a common mentality at the base between this unique perception of money and the disrespect shown towards the panel of judges. The same could be said about the behavior towards the 101 entrants, besides the finalists. Ever since they submitted their work, they have heard nothing from the organizers. It is a callous attitude that shows a grave indifference towards creators and their creations—it signifies a lack of understanding and respect. Just for the record, other judges on the panel besides Mr. Kazumasa Nagai never received word about the specifics of the unveiling ceremony. I am sure that no one even knew, at least officially, when nor where it was going to be held. At least I was not told. I was not invited.

Is the organizing committee ready to dish out another 69 million yen, once again, for the unveiling event for the next emblem? If I may put in my two cents worth and dare give some direction, my advice would be to follow the manner of the declaration of “Heisei”. By doing so, we will be able to realize a fruitful, refreshingly dignified, beautiful unveiling, fit for Japan. 

This is something personal, but ever since I got embroiled in the Olympic Games emblem issue, I have tried to face the problem head-on. During my struggle and my contemplation, I have relied on the classic “Genshishiroku” by Sato Issai, a Confucian scholar from the Edo period, to guide my heart.
 
According to Sato Issai:
 
“There are four kanji characters that should be favored by those who hold bureaucratic positions. The four letters are “public”, “just”, “clean” and “respect”. The first letter stands for fair-minded selflessness. The second stands for honesty. The third stands for personal rectitude. The forth stands for respect and modesty. If one can abide by these four, one will never be at fault. Furthermore, there are four unfavorable kanji characters. They are “self”, “evil”, “cloudy” and “arrogant”. The first stands for inequality. The second stands for corruption. The third stands for bad conduct. The fourth stands for conceit and arrogance. If one should commit any of these four that will certainly bring harm.” (SATO ISSAI, with annotations by Kusumoto, Bunyu. Zayuban Genshishiroku, Kodansha, 1994)
 
Keiko Hirano
 
Keiko Hirano:
Designer/Visioner, Executive Director of Communication Design Laboratory
Hirano served on the panel that chose the official emblem for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which was ultimately withdrawn.

五輪エンブレム問題の
事実と考察
001 責任がとれる方法で 002 公募期間の短さ 003 『展開』『展開性』『展開力』 004 知らされなかった招待作家 005 ブログを読んで下さっているみなさまへ 006 利害優先の土壌 007 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.1 008 修正案承諾拒否の経緯と理由 - vol.2 009 『公』の仕事 010 専門家の盾 011 秘密保持誓約書という密室 012 いまこそ、私心なき専門性を問う 013 判断の論拠 014 最終の審議 015 金銭感覚と敬意の相対性 016 表現におけるモラリティと表現者のモラル 017 言葉のちから 018 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.1 019 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.2 020 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.3 021 何のための調査なのか、調査の目的は何なのか - vol.4 022 願い 023 摩訶不思議な調査報告書 024 負の遺産とならないように 025 出口なき迷路 026 届かぬ思い 027「社会に位置づくデザイン」という観点 028 無責任主義の村 029 審査委員として知り得た情報のすべて 030 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.1 031 新聞寄稿文への異論 - vol.2 032 1対3の構図 - 「A案」VS「BCD案」 033 今を生きる 034 負の連鎖……を断つために 035 欲望の公害 精神の断絶 036 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.1 037 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.2 038 イカサマ文書 by JAGDA - vol.3 039 事実はひとつ 040 新世界へ 041 JAGDA文書への意見と要望 ― 法律の専門家による分析 042 JAGDAの回答 JAGDAへの要望書 043 「要望書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する更なる質問 044 「意見書へのJAGDAの回答」に対する質問と提案 045 ブラック・デザイン 046 弁護士から届いた封書
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Logo Controversy--Facts and Observations 001 My way of taking responsibility 002 Duration of contest was way short 003 “Development” “Development Capabilities” “Development Power” 004 Guest artists I wasn’t told about 005 To My Readers 006 A culture where special interests take priority 007 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.1 008 How and why I refused to accept the modified design - vol.2 009 Strictly “public” work 010 Specialists as shields 011 Behind closed doors-secrecy surrounding a non-disclosure agreement 012 Time to put selfless expertise to the test 013 Rationale behind my decision 014 The final review session 015 Is the money mindset relative to paying respect? 016 Morality of expression and the morals of its creator 017 The power of words 018 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.1 019 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.2 020 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.3 021 An investigation for what? What is the purpose of the investigation - vol.4 022 My wish 023 Mystifying investigation report is out 024 In order to prevent a negative legacy 025 Stuck in a maze with no exit 026 A voice unheard 027 A viewpoint that calls for “design with a place in society” 028 A village with a policy of irresponsibility 029 Every piece of information that I garnered as a judge on the selection committee 030 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.1 031 Objections to a newspaper contribution - vol.2 032 The underlying picture of one against three - “Plan A” versus “Plans BCD” 033 Living in the moment 034 Putting a stop……to a negative chain of events 035 Pollution by greed and discontinuity of the spirit 036 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.1 037 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.2 038 Bogus document by JAGDA - vol.3 039 Every fact has only one version 040 Toward a whole new world 041 Opinion and request regarding JAGDA document―An analysis by a legal specialist 042 Reply from JAGDA Request letter to JAGDA 043 More questions re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 044 Questions and proposal re: "Reply from JAGDA regarding Request Letter" 045 Rogue design 046 Letter from the lawyers