The yuru-kyara world watches with a cautious eye as recent unofficial mascot Teruhiko has been steadily building a fan base online. This slightly emo looking mascot character operating out of Hakodate has been winning over hearts with his cooking tips.
However, Teruhiko has a dark side that occasionally appears in impassioned tweets that threaten to undermine the otherwise diplomatic and squeaky clean world of people in puffy costumes.
- Master Blaster
Dec 24, 2012
Yuru-kyara, those lovable mascots of urban and rural districts all over Japan, have finished their annual yuru-kyara Gran Prix with Bari-San the chicken clinching a long awaited first place.
But that doesn’t mean these men and women in giant animal costumes have time to rest. No sir. Just as the last Gran Prix closed yuru-kyara it’s now time for the hundreds of mascots to begin campaigning for next year’s vote.
This brings us to Takibou, the Tanuki Monster of Shaolin Temple (not the kung-fu one) in Hachioji, Tokyo. Takibou had finished 58th place (top 6%) in 2012 and is hoping to improve on that performance. So, for the first time – probably in the world – a mascot is releasing their scent for the public to buy.
Anyone who’s been to Japan knows that it’s a mascot loving country. Everything from attack choppers to Windows OS to Temples has a cute moe character representing it. I remember when I first came to Japan, the customs website had a cartoon schnauzer in a police uniform explaining the list of prohibited items upon entry.
And then we have the genre of yuru-kyara (loose mascot characters) who are more of the Disney person-in-a-mouse-suit type mascot. However, these mascots don’t represent businesses. They are the cute symbols of cities, towns, districts, or even buildings.
Across the country there is an intricate network of yuru-kyara, the sheer size and variety of which makes you begin to understand why Pokemon came from this country. Since 2010, an annual nation-wide vote has been held to choose the fairest mascot of the land. For the Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix 2012, 6,500,000 votes were cast to rank the 865 official mascots who entered.
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