Photo/IllutrationTokyo 2020 Olympic mascot Miraitowa, left, and Paralympic mascot Someity, right, pose with children for photographers during the mascot debut event in Tokyo on July 22. (AP Photo)

The official mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled at a ceremony in downtown Tokyo on Sunday.

The blue-checked mascot for the Olympics is named Miraitowa while the pink-checked Paralympic mascot will be known as Someity.

Miraitowa is a combination of the Japanese words for future and eternity while Someity comes from a popular cherry blossom variety "Someiyoshino" and echoes the English phrase "so mighty."

The two mascots were designed by illustrator Ryo Taniguchi, who won a nationwide competition that was determined by elementary schoolchildren across Japan, with his entries clinching more than half the total votes.

"These mascots are your friends," Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said at the ceremony. "You have helped to pick them and across the country, I believe, 5 million children helped to pick this. And the name is also something we have picked together. So this Olympics belongs to everyone."

The selection process involving schoolchildren was introduced to get students enthusiastic about the games while also ensuring transparency.

Organizers say the pair of futuristic characters combine tradition and innovation. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020.

"I think a very worthy name has been picked not only for Tokyo, but for Japan as well as the Olympics and Paralympics," said Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.

After the ceremony, the mascots reappeared on a boat that cruised down the Sumida river, waving to children on the riverbank as they passed some of Tokyo's most iconic landmarks.