Sapporo 1972 – Emblem

Designer: Kazumasa Nagai

A competition was held for the new emblem, to which eight leading Japanese designers had been invited. Out of 30 design proposals, Kazumasa Nagai’s entry was finally chosen as the winner’s emblem on 7 October 1966. As with the Tokyo 1964 Summer Games emblem, the red circle was also used as the most striking element at the Winter Games to establish a clear link with Japan. This symbol of the rising sun is also depicted on Japan’s national flag, also known as Hinomaru. In addition, Nagai designed a stylised snow crystal symbolising winter. The origin and the first appearance of this symbol, which is supposed to represent the first snow, goes back to the Heian period (781–1185 AD), whereby the six-sided, stylised snowflake can also be found on old Chinese works of art. The use of this ancient symbol in the Winter Games emblem thus created a bridge between the past and the present, while the Olympic rings, the name “Sapporo” and the year “1972” complete the emblem. The jury especially liked its enormous flexibility, since it could easily be used in vertical, horizontal and square versions and in different colours. Even the integration of a sports pictogram was possible.