The unofficial ambassador for Shibuya and Harajuku makes sure to keep the statue of famously loyal dog Hachiko clean.
Japan’s insatiable appetite for cuteness means that there’s a constant demand for new mascot characters. But just like human beings need a hook to compete in show business, so too do yurukyara, as such characters are called in Japan, need something to help them stand out from their rivals.
One newcomer to the yurulyara scene is Soft Kuriinu. Close-up, he looks pretty cute, with a loveable puppy-dog face and bright pink coloring.
こんにちワーン！ ドアップどどーんワーン！ https://t.co/tVNjFhBlj5—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 15, 2017
Soft Kuriinu’s name is quite similar to “soft cream,” which is what Japan calls soft-serve ice cream, and indeed, there’s a spirally shape to the character’s body. However, the real hint to the character’s name is the “inu” portion, meaning “dog” in Japanese, which comes at the backside of Soft Kuriinu’s name, which is an appropriate position because Soft Kuriinu comes from the backside of a dog.
おはワン！ 祝日ワーンワーン！ いつもと違うことをする人はリツイート いつも通りの日常のひとはいいね ゴールデンウィーク返上でお仕事する人に恋愛うん2アップあげるワン https://t.co/7vn9kUTDnA—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) May 03, 2017
こんにちワン！ またちょっと肌寒くなって来たワン！ 風邪とか引いてないワン？ 引いてる人はリツイート 引いてない人はいいね！ みんなに健康うん2アップワン！ https://t.co/9jamn08cmn—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 24, 2017
Yes, the reason for Soft Kuriinu’s coiled physique is that he’s an anthropomorphic dog turd. Not only that, he’s heavily implied to be a plop dropped by Hachiko, the famously loyal Akita Inu who continued to wait near Tokyo’s Shibuya Station every day after his owner unexpectedly died at his workplace.
▼ Soft Kuriinu hanging out near his purported “birthplace” of Hachiko’s hindquarters
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) March 25, 2017
こんばんワン！ ゴールデンウィーク楽しんでるワン？ お仕事頑張ったひとはリツイート デートした人はいいね お家から出なかった人に健康うん2アップあげるワーン！ https://t.co/aXIB1eFkWU—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) May 05, 2017
To drive home the allusion, Soft Kuriinu can often be seen wearing a ribbon that says “chuken unko,” which translates as “loyal poo,” but with the Japanese characterread “ko” forcefully changed to the same one used in the name of Hachiko, the “loyal dog.”
▼ Considering that Soft Kuriinu is a living pile of poo, the thought of the character standing in the hot sun is kind of disturbing…
おはワン！ 晴れたワン！ 御幸がさしてるワーン！ https://t.co/wxAnpm7zHu—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 11, 2017
▼ …as is seeing Soft Kuriinu pose in close proximity to food-themed characters.
おはワン！ みんな朝ごはん食べたワン？ うん公はネギが食べたくなったワン。。 https://t.co/roLvT7OaXa—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 03, 2017
For a turd, Soft Kuriinu is surprisingly mobile, as shown in this video of him out and about in Tokyo.
However, it’s when the character squats down and conceals its legs that the visual effect is the most dramatic.
おはワン！！ 今日も一日笑顔ワン！！ https://t.co/mz8wIrG5Mw—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) March 30, 2017
You may have noticed that in several of these pictures, Soft Kuriinu can be seen holding a brush. That’s not to scrub toilets, but rather to tidy up the streets of Shibuya Ward, since according to his official profile, he loves cleaning.
おはワン！ 日曜日ワン！みんなお出かけするワン？ 傘持ってくワーン！ https://t.co/j4OnfDejle—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 08, 2017
おはワン ポカポカ陽気ワン 月曜日も自分のゴミは自分で持ち帰るワン！ https://t.co/jW80AR9JVe—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 09, 2017
▼ Though one shudders to think of how all those dried leaves would get mixed in with a soft, sticky turd.
今日はトイレのお掃除ワン！ 水周りは綺麗にするワン！ また街のお掃除行きたいワーンワーン https://t.co/Pzk6EiIzDG—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) March 21, 2017
Thankfully, Sofy Kuriinu is actually made out of soft, plush material, so while he may be shaped like poop, he’s actually quite huggable. Supposedly he imparts good luck to those who touch him, as an extension of the oft-cited pun in Japan about how the words un (“good fortune”) and fun (“feces”) sound so similar to one another.
おはワン！！ 今日はポカポカの陽気ワン！ お洗濯する人はリツイート お洗濯今度の人はいいね 食器洗い済ませた人に勉強うん2アップワン！ https://t.co/WzF6g6FoS7—
そふとくり犬(いぬ ) / 忠犬うん公 (@un_kou_) April 28, 2017
So far, only the pink Soft Kuriinu has been spotted roaming the streets of Shibuya and the adjacent Harajuku neighborhood. However, the character’s official website shows concept art for six differently colored anthropomorphized poos, suggesting that Soft Kuriinu either has plenty of friends, or that he can change color, perhaps like the hue of one’s stool can change when adapting to new foods or health conditions.
It’s debatable whether Soft Kuriinu and his brethren qualify as adorable or not, but when judged against some of the other turds seen in Shibuya, they don’t seem so bad.