As we’ve seen before, Japan is no stranger to weird and wonderful mascots. Showing up at festivals and parades, these bouncy fellows wave at townspeople and visitors as if their lives depended on it, posing for photos and receiving hugs from excited children and young women endlessly shout kawaiiiii (cuuuuute!) at the top of their lungs. Usually, these mascots — known as yurukyara — are based on a something that the area is particularly proud of, so it’s not unusual to see giant walking vegetables or anthropomorphic animals representing their respective towns or prefectures.
Sometimes, though, a character emerges that is so “kimo kawaii” (gross yet somehow cute) that people aren’t sure whether to smile at it or fire up a flame thrower. One such character is the newly unveiled Okazaemon, the mascot for Okazaki City in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture.
This enormous white figure has been selected as Okazaki City’s official character ambassador in the hope of raising the town’s profile and bringing more cultural events to the area.
Quite why the town chose this design we have no idea, but we certainly wouldn’t want to look out of the window on a cold winter’s night and see this thing standing in the street staring back at us.
With the town’s kanji characters worked into the costume (岡 oka is – if you squint – written in the character’s face, while saki 崎 is emblazoned on his chest), Okazaemon has been sighted at a number of events already, urging children to come closer, often with mixed results.
Japanese netizens, too, are not entirely sure whether they ought to be freaked out or delighted by this unique yurukyara, with comments posted to online message boards varying from “gross but kind of cute” to “that’s just wrong.”
“OK, that thing’s going to show up in my dreams.”
“My god that’s scary.”
“What. The. F**k.”
“Look at his cold, dead eyes…”
“Hahaha that’s gross.”
“Nice touch with the kanji though!”
“Surely kids would be terrified of this?”
We’ll leave you with a handful of shots of Okazaemon in action in and around the town. Cute or creepy, we’ll let you to decide!
▼ “If I can’t see him, he can’t see me… If I can’t see him, he can’t see me…”
▼ Just shoppin’
▼ Oh. Hello…
▼Pimping his wares.
▼ Making mega bucks.
▼ Headline reads: “Okazaki mascot makes children cry.”
▼ Okazaemon with a cat. For some reason.
▼ Hey, at least try and stay in character…
▼ Relaxing at home after a hard day’s work.
Don’t have nightmares, kids.