001 My way of taking responsibility

Immediately after the emblem for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo was officially unveiled on July 24, Belgian designer Olivier Debie raised an objection, and trouble ensued. Various problems continued to surface, one after another. As a member of the panel that chose the Tokyo Olympics logo, not a day has gone by without feeling pain in my heart. I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for not speaking up in public until now.

During this time, I was approached by various media companies including newspapers, television and magazines, seeking interviews and information. I found myself in an extreme situation beyond comprehension and experience. I was unable to respond, let alone make decisions on the spot. Furthermore, I had to consider the fact that I was part of a panel of eight judges. I did not want my single voice to affect the other seven members of the panel. That is why I chose to keep my silence. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my apologies to members of the press who contacted me.

Personally, I was ready to take responsibility for my role as a member of the panel that chose the set of emblems. However, once the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games allowed a group photograph of the panel members to circulate—without obtaining individual verification—it was picked up by television programs with the intent to entertain rather than inform, which helped create and spread a certain image. We found ourselves treated like criminals. We were left vulnerable with no way to defend ourselves.
I found mass media’s information spreading mechanism quite frightening. My resolve to choose the right way of taking responsibility grew stronger. I did not want to choose a way that could be misconstrued as biased information.

I believe in “anonymity in design.” The policy is one of my strong priorities. In addition, as a way to preserve confidentiality in my professional work, I have always distanced myself from social media. However, when I saw how time was passing by while the cloud of suspicion related to the emblem issue showed no sign of dissipating I decided I had to speak up. I decided to create this page in order to speak to the general public and the contest participants who spent their precious time preparing for and taking part in the competition. As a panel member, I wanted to inform what I came to know, in a responsible way, limiting myself to the scope and field I could take responsibility for, never wavering from the crux of the matter.
I decided I had to put everything down in writing.

On numerous occasions, I have offered my total cooperation to the Organizing Committee. I have yet to receive a clear response. To ensure that the new selection process which will begin soon will be more fruitful, using this public forum, I would like to reiterate my wish to cooperate: “Let me take part in the evaluation process.”

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.