Best Team Logos in the Olympics (BTLOly) #14: Japan

In John van der Woude
Feb 8th, 2014

Japan-636A new logo countdown begins today, this time for the teams competing in the Winter Olympics happening right now in Sochi. The Olympics is officially 17 days long, and there’s 14 teams to go through, so let’s get this thing going…

There’s different things to take into account however, for this Olympic countdown compared to the BTLNHL countdown. The “logos” are not necessarily the official logos for any of the hockey federations of the countries. In fact, the Olympics does not allow the federations’ logos to be on the jerseys at all, so new logos, or team crests, had to be designed specifically for this short 2-week long tournament. As such, these are meant to be temporary logos to symbolize a country, so there’s different things to consider.  Because of that, these analyses will not be as exhaustive as the posts in the BTLNHL countdown.

That being said, these logos are still symbolizing a country, so a certain amount of thought has to be put into their design. And unfortunately, last place has to go to someone, and it goes to the nation of Japan.


Japan-logoThe main problem with this logo is that it feels very non-Japanese. It uses a traditional American collegiate slab-serif font, mimicking the traditional American international hockey jerseys…for whatever reason. Sure, they’re nice jerseys and the collegiate-style ‘USA’ is great, but how well does that represent the nation of Japan?

And that’s the other strange choice about this logo: why does it say ‘Japan’ in English when the Winter Olympics are taking place in a Russian country and it’s very unlikely that English countries to going to cover any of the Japanese hockey games? You could have the exact same logo, but with ‘Japan’ in Japanese characters and it would instantly improve it and make for a more unique and stylish logo. Using English and collegiate letters feels like a lazy and cheap design that doesn’t represent the country at all.

Other options? How about something playing on the imperial seal of Japan? Or some sort of cherry blossom design? Or the rising sun flag? Or a stylized version of the privy seal of Japan? Or anything that more closely connects the logo on the jersey with the people wearing it.

As for the colours, even that feels un-Japanese. Just make it red letters with black outlines and that feels a little more authentic to the simplicity of their red and white flag. Or overlay the flag within the letters, or the rising sun within the letter, or something a little more creative and thought-out. There’s just really no redeeming qualities with this logo at all.

For a logo crest for an international competition like the Olympics, it feels lazy and incredibly non-partriotic and as such, not very well thought-out, and deserving of last place.


Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.


6 Responses to “Best Team Logos in the Olympics (BTLOly) #14: Japan”

  1. […] ‘Norway’, in case you needed that explained), so that already gives it points over the Japanese logo, and keeping it out of last […]

  2. […] Japan’s logo, where the logo just didn’t jive with the country, there’s nothing un-Canadian about […]

  3. […] this is another team (like Austria (above) and Japan) that are using the English word for their country (Slovenian for Slovenia is Slovenija) for a […]

  4. […] main reason this logo falls down to #11 on the BTLOly countdown. One reason is that, similar to the previously talked about Japanese logo, the word ‘Slovenia’ is in English, representing a Slovenian team who (presumably) all […]

  5. […] BTLOly #11: Slovenia BTLOly #12: Canada BTLOly #13: Norway BTLOly #14: Japan […]

  6. […] This is the first Japanese women’s team to qualify for the Olympics since 1998’s Nagano Olympics in, coincidentally, Japan and also only their second Olympics ever. And while their jerseys are nothing extremely offensive, they just don’t make a lot of sense. ‘Japan’ is in English (Japanese, or even Russian, would have made much more sense) in American-style collegiate lettering. The glossy shoulder dragon head pattern going down to the scales on the sleeves is just too much of the gloss to be considered a subtle element. And with the beautiful simplicity of the Japanese flag (and as such, the freedom to play around with a design for it) is just a complete missed opportunity. And black jerseys are just dull. Read the full analysis here. Or, read about just the Japanese logo here. […]

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