2016.05.30 Monday

034 Putting a stop……to a negative chain of events

The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics revealed the official logo for the Games on April 25, 2016. It took eight long months before the new Olympic logo could be unveiled since the winning emblem design for the initial competition was scrapped on September 1, 2015. There is no denying that the Tokyo 2020 Games and Olympic related projects have been dogged with problems from the get go. It began with the new National Stadium design conundrum; which was followed by the emblem design fiasco; and now we are hearing about corruption, suspicious money paid out in relation to the Tokyo bid. The Japanese people have been watching with dismay how the Tokyo Olympics become embroiled in unprecedented scandal after another. They are exhausted—they are sick and tired of these problems that seemingly drag on forever. The last thing they want is more fresh problems cropping up. Maybe it was the communal wish seeking some sort of closure that was floating in the air that did the trick. This time around, response towards the new Olympic emblem was lukewarm. Nothing strong was put forth, for better or worse. That said, I don’t think this is enough to declare that the new competition was a total success. My reasons are as follows: In order to claim this was a fair and transparent competition, the specific contents and the rationale behind the decision making had to be revealed. Yet there has been no explanation as to these vital issues. It is quite unfortunate that due to the lack of such information, in the end, the competition came off as a competition lacking in transparency. The whole process fell short of dispelling suspicion and doubts. Just like the original emblem competition that was forcibly brought to a close by concealing and keeping a lid on inconvenient facts, I am afraid that once again, this competition left an impression that was just as opaque. The lack of transparency will cast a long shadow which will follow the Olympic logo into the future, leaving behind a whiff of discomfort. Thus we lost an opportunity to cleanse the bad aftertaste. I have no doubt whatsoever that the members of the organizing committee really gave their best effort in realizing a new competition, an opportunity for redemption per se. But then, I ask, why not explain the important matters? Why not answer questions posed by reporters? To me, giving an explanation in order to rebuild trust seems to be the most obvious way to go. I am afraid the organizers will be paying a dear price for neglecting this simple task. The impact is unfathomable.

Words can exert power only when they are backed by facts and evidence. If the originator of words tries to hide inconvenient facts, or if the originator attempts to use the power of words as a way to manipulate information, he will end up contradicting himself, making a slip, and the whole point gets lost. The picture was evident in the press conferences given for the original competition. And of course the Japanese people are not that stupid. Who would be taken in by such sophism and deceit? That is why we do not feel any jubilation. We don’t see people celebrating the unveiling of the Olympic emblem. The organizers boasted that they were going to listen to the people, listen to what they want. Yet, the end result did not feel like a reflection of the people’s voices. The organizers failed to fulfill their responsibility and they chose not to account for their decision. Thus they lost the greatest opportunity to recover the trust of the people. And it was their own doing.

It was a quirk of fate that around this time the Tokyo Governor found himself embroiled in scandal; allegedly a violation of political funding laws. At the press conference, behind the Governor, there was an interview board set up displaying the Olympic emblems that had been selected just a while ago. The backdrop panel had been adopted as a way to promote the images widely and to heighten recognition of the logos—which backfired in this instance. The Olympic logos were on prominent display every time the scandal ridden Governor was grilled by reporters during these press conferences: thereby infusing a layer of suspicion to the logos, initiating a new negative chain of events.

In face of such a considerable mess, partner corporations that had pledged Olympic sponsorships are forced to be more than cautious in how they handle the Olympic logos. I checked out the corporate websites of these sponsor companies. With the exception of the very few that proudly display the official logo at the front page top, it was apparent that most of the sponsors were proceeding with extreme care. Companies were obviously testing the water, and they were in full crisis management mode. Actually, I do not think this is such a bad situation. When we think about it, if we are to get to the root of the Olympic logo problem, we must go back to the Los Angeles Olympic Games—which is widely acknowledged as the watershed moment when the Olympic business broke away from the essential nature of the Olympic Games and erupted as a forceful business model, fed by unbridled desire, creating cracks and distortions as it forged ahead. If we are to take a moment to probe into the Olympic emblem that has deviated from its original course and evolved into a formidable business tool, we must give thought to the true significance of the Olympic emblem; which is not such a bad idea.

The Olympic emblem issue started out as a problem innate to the Japanese graphic design and advertisement industries, which then grew into a major phenomenon. If all the players had faced the problem head on, from their respective perspectives and made the effort to resolve the problem, things would have turned out quite differently. Because it did not happen, we are still left grumbling even after the unveiling of a new Olympic logo. We do not want old grudges resurfacing in the future, and so that everyone can pursue their precious lives without further ado, let us not avert our eyes from problems that took place. Let us tackle them head on. By doing so, lessons will be learned which will become our strength. It will show us how to put a stop to the chain of negative events—how to make it possible. That is what I believe. Even now, I don’t think it is too late.
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.

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 047 おとぎの国の物語 048 退会届
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 047 Tales from Wonderland 048 Withdrawal Notice