Month: December 2016

World Character Summit 2016 in Hanyu (Part 3)

Here is a final selection of pictures of obscure mascots from the recent World Character Summit in Hanyu, Saitama.


Muzumuzu-kun, king of Imizu City. Bring back monastic rule and put this guy in charge!

Hinojagakun and Sainobuntakun

 On the right is the potato-headed perpetual 22-year-old mascot of Hinohara Village on the edge of Tokyo. On the left is Sainobuntakun, the rhinoceros mascot of a Saitama newspaper. Imagine their children!

Sasadangon of Niigata (based on the local treat, sasadango) strikes a sexy pose. Phwoar!


The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge mascot is called Wataru. Wataru is a normal Japanese guy’s name, a peculiar choice for a being that looks like a mattress.

 Ma-Kun and Ayumin

Higashimatsuyama’s twin mascots, Ma-kun and (hiding behind her brother) Ayumin.

Sayama city’s cherubic Oripy.



Tomo is the mascot for Tomoe Milk in Koga City, Ibaragi. I got a free sample of the milk and it was very yummy.

Happy Hanyu Hanyu

“Happy Hanyu Hanyu” is the mascot of Hanyu General Hospital. Who knows what diabolical genetics experiments are going on there, if Happy is any indication?

Black Bancho

Black Bancho is a super-cool squid from Itoigawa city.


Oke-Chan is a safflower in a kimono, and hails from Okegawa city in Saitama.(There is no shortage of mascots in Saitama.)

Mochi Usagi

Niigata’s Mochi Usagi is bunny with a rice cake for a head. Is it bad that I am suddenly hungry?



This eerie and enigmatic figure is named Skinny, and that’s about all I know about him. The yuru-chara equivalent of Slenderman.

Papa Tako

Papa Tako, the octopus mascot of Akashi city in Hyogo. He would make a good partner in crime for Black Bancho.


Koka City in Shiga is famous for all things ninja. Hence the mascot, Ninjaemon. It’s hard to imagine this character stealthily creeping into your house at midnight, though.

Melon Kuma

One of the more memorable regional mascots is Melon Kuma, from Yubari City in Hokkaido. To represent a town best known for bears and melons, he’s quite simply a bear with a melon for a head. But instead of a predictably cute, Winnie the Pooh-style bear, the designers gave Melon Kuma all of a wild bear’s most savage and terrifying features. He looks like a chimera from a botched science experiment.

A standout at Yuru-chara gatherings, Melon Kuma runs around brutally attacking all the other hapless mascots.

Here he is, attacking the giant inflatable sumo, Pier Nishiki, the mascot of a party goods store.

Here, he attacks Yamaguchi prefecture’s Choruru, who manages to fend the monster off with a knife.

Although Melon Kuma is a nasty piece of work, you have to feel sorry for the performer inside the suit. Being the villain of the event means he spends all day being punched and kicked by children.

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