The “Ho” of Hodori comes from the Korean word meaning “tiger”, while “Dori” is a common masculine diminutive. The name was chosen from 2,295 competition entries submitted by the general public.
The tiger appears frequently in Korean popular art and legends. With a positive image, it is often associated with humour, bravery and nobility. Hodori wears the Olympic rings around his neck. On his head is a typical traditional Korean hat, the sangmo. The ribbon on the hat is in the shape of an “S” for Seoul, and appears in various forms.
The Organising Committee set up a contest to select the mascot which generated 4,344 entries. Four candidates were selected: a rabbit, a squirrel, a pair of mandarin ducks and a tiger. Finally, the tiger was chosen.
Kim Hyun, Hodori's creator, was also behind the emblem for the Asian Games in 1986.
Although less well known, there is a female version of the mascot named Hosuni. “Suni” is the Korean for “girl”.
The cartoon book “Come along, Hodori” about the mascot won the top prize in the children’s category of a Korean cartoon awards contest in 1988.