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.

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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