Meet Bing Dwen Dwen's No.1 fan: Japanese journalist trends on Chinese internet for his love of Winter Olympic panda mascot
Published: Feb 09, 2022 07:30 PM
Gido Tsujioka Photo: Wang Tao/GT

Gido Tsujioka Photo: Wang Tao/GT

A Japanese journalist has become one of the most popular topics in recent days along the opening of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games for his effusive love to Bing Dwen Dwen, the Panda-shape mascot.

Gido Tsujioka, an announcer from Japan's NTV, has earned himself a new name "Gido Dwen Dwen" after a sequence of video clips of Tsujioka went viral on the Chinese internet, which showed how Tsujioka, during live news, "showed off" his collections of Bing Dwen Dwen badges, met Bing Dwen Dwen in person and excitedly promoted Bing Dwen Dwen to Japanese audience.

As of press time, more than 300 million people have watched Tsujioka's Bing Dwen Dwen video on the Chinese internet.

In an interview with the Global Times on Saturday, 35-year-old Tsujioka said, "If his existence could draw more people's attention to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, it would be great."

According to Tsujioka, Bing Dwen Dwen has "saved his life." It was because on the first day arriving at Beijing, Tsujioka lost his jacket on the plane and was feeling down. At the very moment, he saw the adorable Bing Dwen Dwen and was healed in one second.

"I fell in love with Bing Dwen Dwen at the first sight," he said. "No matter how tired, whenever I see Bing Dwen Dwen, I feel motivated… With Bing Dwen Dwen, I do not feel cold without my jacket," he told the Global Times.

Now, Tsujioka has eight Bing Dwen Dwen badges hanging on his press card. Apart from those, he was also wearing a Bing Dwen Dwen T-shirt and owns many other Bing Dwen Dwen souvenirs such as a scarf and clothes.

He has sent back a parcel full of Bing Dwen Dwen souvenirs back to Japan to let more Japanese people feel the charm of Bing Dwen Dwen.

However, Tsujioka did not expect that Bing Dwen Dwen had already been popular in Japan. On a Japanese second-hand trading website, Bing Dwen Dwens have either been marked up or sold out.

"I have received countless messages, asking me to bring Bing Dwen Dwen back to Japan," Tsujioka said. "Maybe I will buy a lot of Bing Dwen Dwens, throw away my clothes and fill my suitcase with all Bing Dwen Dwens."

With so many Bing Dwen Dwens, Tsujioka still holds two wishes. One is to take a selfie with Bing Dwen Dwen and set it as the wallpaper of his phone, and the other is to interview the designer of Bing Dwen Dwen.

Cao Xue, the designer of the mascot and the director at the School of Visual Art and Design at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, has implied to media that he would be pleased to meet the Bing Dwen Dwen uber-fan to understand why this Japanese journalist loves Bing Dwen Dwen so much.

Talking about his feelings watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, Tsujioka said, "I feel very happy and touched because the Winter Olympics are a pure sporting event and a world stage. I hope the contestants can maintain their best condition and perform at the highest level." 

Tsujioka is just one of numerous people who have been fascinated by Bing Dwen Dwen. 

"OMG! It's so cute!" "I want one!" "Hello little guy…" When posts with such descriptions circulating on social media in recent days in which a fluffy and lovable panda waving and smiling, Bing Dwen Dwen has become a star not only in the Olympic Villages, venues, and almost, everywhere.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games has rated Bing Dwen Dwen as the most trending topic on social media, like Chinese Sina Weibo. The chubby panda in fully body shell of ice looks like an astronaut has generated more than 250 million views by Thursday, and the netizens have shared the videos and pictures of fun moments with Bing Dwen Dwen, including images of the inflated Beijing Games mascot trying to squeeze through the door to enter the main media center, how a Japanese reporter bought many Bing Dwen Dwen badges and how much foreign athletes enjoy sleeping on Bing Dwen Dwen pillows.

"I almost cried seeing the mascot," Czech ice dancer Natalie Taschlerova told the Global Times in a recent interview, as she saw that the Olympic mascot was among the gifts athletes receive when they arrived at the Olympic Villages. She said that with her teammates, they had been talking about buying those panda-shaped keychains and pillows as they were so cute.

"I love it. The panda is very cute," Brazilian athlete Nicole Silveira told the Global Times on Thursday, as she also received the backpack full of Beijing 2022 memorabilia. In some photos of Silveira sent to the Global Times, the Brazilian athlete took photos with the mascot inside the village or selfies with the pillow.

"The panda? I did. I love it. I'm gonna bring it back home and give it to my grandmother. Because everyone likes panda, right?" Swiss snowboarder Nicolas Huber told the Global Times on Thursday. "Who doesn't like pandas? They're so nice. They really chilled animals."

The design for Bing Dwen Dwen was chosen from over 5,800 submissions from throughout China and 35 countries around the world as part of a global competition arranged by the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, according to official website of the Winter Games. The designs were reviewed by Chinese and international experts, with the final selections made by teams from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and Jilin University of the Arts.

The design team used Tanghulu as a prototype in its initial drafting, a traditional Chinese skewer of crispy candied fruit. However, there were concerns about the candy couldn't represent China so the design team replace the candied fruit inside but kept the ice crust. And now the outer shell represents technologies with a resemblance to an astronaut's suit, and the colored halo around the suit's face was inspired by a major venue for the Games - the Ice Ribbon.