Avant-garde Tokyo Olympics posters unveiled

By Stephen Wade, Associated Press

The official posters for this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been unveiled.

The 20 posters have been created by 19 artists in fields ranging from painting, graphic design and photography, while calligraphy and Japanese manga are also represented.

Manga is the Japanese art of comics and cartooning, which is famous in the host country.

A poster by Naoki Urasawa, one of 20 posters officially selected for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (Jae C Hong/AP)

The posters have gone on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo until February 16.

Posters are a tradition at every Olympics and Paralympics, and many previous posters have become collector’s items.

The requirement to create posters is set out in the so-called “host city contract” in which the International Olympic Committee establishes the rules for the preparation and management of the Games.

A photographer takes pictures of the official posters (Jae C Hong/AP)

The Summer Olympics open at Tokyo’s new National Stadium on July 24 and are followed by the Paralympics on August 25.

Of the 20 posters, 12 are based on Olympic themes and eight were inspired by the Paralympics.

Several feature wheelchairs, including a graphic vision of the violence in the sport of wheelchair rugby.

A poster created by Goo Choki Par (Jae C Hong/AP)

Many of the images are far from traditional, showcasing bright colours and curious forms.

In many of the avant-garde images it is difficult to discern the exact tie to the Olympics or Paralympics.

Very few even feature a prominent display of the Tokyo Olympic or Paralympic logos.

This poster is by Shoko Kanazawa (Jae C Hong/AP)

That also goes for the five Olympic rings, which are seldom featured.

Some of the titles are also eye-catching: Space Kicker by painter Shinro Ohtake; The Sky Above The Great Wave Off The Coast Of Kanagawa by manga artist Hirohiko Araki; Open by calligrapher Koji Kakinuma; Higher Than The Rainbow by photographer Mika Ninagawa; Offence No 7 by artist Tomoyuki Shinki; and Flow Line by graphic designer Daijiro Ohaha.