Japan's Rugby World Cup unveils mythical, lion-like mascots

TOKYO (AP) — The 2019 Rugby World Cup has its mascots: Two mythical, lion-like creatures that were believed in ancient Japan to chase away evil and bring happiness.

The Japanese mascots, named "Ren" and "G," were unveiled on Friday by tournament organizers.

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Similar depictions often appear in traditional Japanese theater. Ren is the parent, and G is the offspring. Organizers said the two were genderless.

Rob Abernethy, the general manager of the Rugby World Cup, said the winning entry was whittled down from about 50.

"It's a very good choice," he said.

The Rugby World Cup, the first in Asia, opens next year on Sept. 20 and closes with the final on Nov. 2 in Yokohama.

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