Yuru-kyara: the cute mascots taking over Japan

28 Mar 2018 in Have Fun

Who is Japan’s favourite yuru-kyara mascot? And who’s the zaniest? Discover all!

kawaii

In Japan, cute mascots are everywhere. Of course, every big brand and sports team has one. But so do small towns, political parties, local museums, and even environmental causes! And every year, the country picks its favourite mascot in a hotly-contested competition.

yuru-chara

Japan’s yuru-kyara are mascots that represent a local place, region, event, organization or business. They’re usually designed to be as kawaii as possible and their raison d’être is to promote a tourist spot or brand.

Characters usually embody a key trait of the region or organization they represent, such as Fukkachan, who has onions sprouting out of his head and tulips pinned to his top, the two symbols of his hometown, Fukaya-city.

fukkachan-mascot

Many yuru-kyara have become national personalities, adored by millions.

kumamon

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Kumamon, the cute bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, is recognized by around 90% of Japanese people and generated over ¥100 billion in related product sales in 2015.

kumamo-gifts

If you’re staying at nearby Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso, you’re sure to bump into Kumamon in shops or on the streets of the town of Aso.

hoshino-resorts-kai-aso

He has his own branded snacks, slippers, beer and cufflinks – and even a themed hotel room. And thanks to Kumamon, the Prefecture has enjoyed a big boost in tourism.

Every year, Japan votes for its favourite mascot at the Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix. The event attracts over a thousand entrants and as many as 50 million voters.

mascot-contest

Past winners include Kumamon and the current champion is Unari-kun, the half-airplane, half-eel mascot of Narita city!


Crédits photo :

mono0x / CC BY

mono0x / CC BY

HAMACHI! / CC BY-NC-ND

mono0x / CC BY

mai:pluie / CC BY-ND

Christian Kaden / CC BY-NC-ND

Michael Francis McCarthy / CC BY-NC-SA

mono0x / CC BY

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