Despite winning with a total of 16,187 votes, the remaining 126,980,511 aren’t overly enthused about the chosen nickname.

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are fast approaching and organizers are scurrying to tie up all the loose ends before the event kicks off on 24 July, 2020. One such loose end is an official nickname for the thousands of volunteers who will assist visitors and athletes from around the world.

Giving volunteers a nickname has been popular in recent years, with the “Games Makers” of the London Olympics and the “Passion Crew” at the Pyeongchang Winter Games. Last December, Japanese organizers determined a shortlist of four candidates, each one a set of two terms for volunteers working in the event venues and those working around the city.

  • Field Cast / City Cast
  • Games Anchor / City Anchor
  • Games Force / City Force
  • Shining Blue / Shining Blue Tokyo

It’s a tough choice. All four seem equally weird and off the mark for a volunteer at a sporting event. To be fair though, there are restrictions for choosing a nickname, mainly in that it can’t violate any existing trademarks and must meet the standards of the IOC.

That makes “Cast” an interesting addition since it’s widely known, even in Japan,  as the official name of the staff at Disney theme parks. It would seem the name itself is too generic to be trademarked, or Disney simply doesn’t mind.

▼ If it’s good enough for the Magic Kingdom, it ought to be good enough for the biggest sporting event in the world

“Games Force” and “City Force” sound like they’ll be out killing people for the duration of the games and I can’t make heads or tails of what “Shining Blue” is all about, considering the national symbol is a shining red sun.

I guess that means my vote goes for “Anchor” since I couldn’t immediately think of a complaint about that name. Let’s see if everyone else agrees with me…

▼ The grand unveiling, followed by one of the saddest rounds of applause I have ever heard in my life.

I guess not. The names “Field Cast” and “City Cast” won with a total of 16,187 votes beating out “Shining Blue,” which got 13,280 votes. “Anchor” came in third with 5,688 votes and “Force” brought up the rear with 5,536 votes.

So clearly this is the name that Japan wants, but just to confirm lets see what netizens had to say about it.

“Kinda ripping off Disneyland isn’t it?”
“Like Disney, they are overworking and underpaying, so I guess it fits.”
“So does that mean they are all only ‘acting’ to be friendly and courteous?”
“‘Shining Blue’ was better.”
“I’m surprised that many people bothered to vote for this.”
“‘Shining’ Blue should have won.”

“I guess it’s an OK nickname, but ‘Shining Blue’ would have been better.”
“‘Cast-off’ is more like it.”
“Is ‘volunteer’ a bad word now?”
“Why are all the names in English?”

If comments are anything to go by, it would seem that “Shining Blue” was the preferred name overall, which just goes to show the importance of voting. By the way, the “Blue” is a reference to the Olympic logo, which is actually a very dark shade of blue and hardly shining, but anyway…

That last comment brings up an interesting point. It makes sense to choose nicknames in the global lingua franca of English for an international event, but wouldn’t literally anything in Japanese have been infinitely better sounding?

There are lots of cool-sounding Japanese words that are easy enough for people from other countries to pick up and use like “Kaname” which means “an essential element of something,” or if they wanted to get a little creative with it; “Shiaigami” which means “Game Gods.”

Unfortunately, organizers in Japan seemed to been swayed by the exoticism of English, bypassing the indigenous charm of their own language. As a result, we’re left with the bland, unmemorable, and potentially litigious name of “Cast.”

Source: Asahi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
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