On Mar 28, the Osaka Tourism Bureau announced the winners of the two contests “Mio & Tsukushi” and “Art Cosplay.” The two contests began last November.

Mio & Tsukushi is the contest to design the official characters of the Osaka POP website, which is a part of the campaign to increase the number of overseas tourists to Osaka. Art Cosplay is one to dress-up as the best cosplayer. Each contest attracted 678 entries across 20 countries and 354 entries across 15 countries respectively.

The winner of the Mio & Tsukushi contest is Miwa Yamamoto, a student from Osaka, and that of the Art Cosplay contest is Antonina from Russia. On the designs of Mio & Tsukushi, Ms. Yamamoto commented, “I designed an energetic Mio and a gentle Tsukushi.”

The selection of Mio & Tsukushi was performed by Kah-Wai Lim (director/ writer/editor/producer), Kenichi Fujimoto (Professor at Mukogawa Women's University), Kazuchika Kise (animator/director), Toru Yoshida (animator), Yusuke Kitanishi (Public Relations and Planning of INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS Co., Ltd.) and Takanobu Kanzawa (Assistant Professor at Takarazuka University). “The number of applicants was much more than we expected. It was a difficult choice. The winner’s illustrations were well-balanced in that it can be used as an animation characters, and we could envision the characters wearing different types of costumes.”

The winning illustration of Mio & Tsukushi will decorate the Osaka POP website as the official characters as well as related web media. They will also appear as animation and be sold as character goods.

The Osaka Tourism Bureau was created last April with the aim to increase the number of overseas tourists from the current 2.6 million to 6.5 million by the year 2020. The Osaka POP website, which was launched last November, has attracted 72,844 users across 91 countries in the first three and a half months.