Category: Japan (Page 1 of 4)

Tokoron Joins a Samba Parade


Tokoron, the lovable of mascot of Tokorozawa City in Saitama Prefecture, celebrated his seventh birthday last weekend. Tokorozawa is the home of aviation in Japan and was the site of the country’s first airport, and thus Tokoron is a human/plane hybrid.

Last month I was lucky enough to witness the spectacle of Tokoron exuberantly dancing in a parade. An incongruous but entertaining part of Tokorozawa’s otherwise traditional annual festival is the samba parade, so Tokoron was dressed in a flamboyant carnival costume. I salute whoever danced for hours in that cumbersome costume.

Multiple Mascots at the Koenji Festival

C.H.Lion Rag Baby (the mascot for Ken, the guitarist from the band, L’Arc en Ciel) flanked by the melon-bodied bear brother and sister, Mero and Cosumin, the mascots of Kawasaki’s Miyamae-ku.

A big festival was held last weekend in trendy Koenji, Tokyo, part of which was a gathering of mascots in a small park. Hosting the event was Koenji’s own Psyche Delhi-san, a glowing-eyed yuruchara in a turban. This was a fun event, because a lot of obscure and unusual mascots were present. Bad weather cut the day short, but I managed to see a encounter a few unique characters.

Teruru braves the rain.

OMC-kun, the debonair raccoon dog from Yamanashi’s Southern Alps, draws a portrait for a fan.

P-kun, the mascot for the P Ark pachinko chain, plays on a spring rider in the park.

Daikon-chama meets P-kun.

Ino-chan and Manabu are the mascots of school uniform makers, Tombow.

Ishinomaken makes cartoon noises when he moves.

Akabou-kun is the mascot for a removal van company.

Daikon-chama, unofficial mascot of Koenji’s Ota Ward.

Japanese Mascots Play Soccer

Yuruchara team photo

Today in Tokyo, several mascots got together to play soccer near Osaki station. Osaki’s mascot, Ichiban Taro, was there, as was reigning Yuruchara Grand Prix champion, Shinjou-kun the extinct river otter.

It was more of a penalty shootout than a match, with mascots pairing off to compete against each other until a winner could be decided. The eventual winner was the local TV station mascot, a yellow dog named Shinagawan. At one point an anthropomorphic tomato slice named Tomato Ningen missed the goal and the ball hit me. This is a high-risk hobby.

Shinjou-kun shoots and scores.

Nonko scores a goal.

Harajuku Miccolo and Momo compete to win.

Local mascot Osaki Ichibantaro displays some fancy footwork.

Mascots in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Softkuri Inu, Haniton, Umeneba-chan

An environmental-conservation-themed event took place today in the picturesque Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The event was called the GTF Green Challenge Day, and various eco-friendly mascots showed up to lend their support, including spherical yellow Fukushima mascots Kibitan and Yuzutaro.

Here are the yuruchara I managed to encounter:

Naraha City’s citrus-fruit-headed mascot, Yuzutaro

Ibaraki Prefecture’s Natto fairy (and girlfriend of Nebaru-kun), Umeneba-chan, stretches to her full height.

Shibuya’s pink ice cream/dog/dog poo, Softkuri-Inu, topples over.

Anthropomorphic honey toast character, Haniton

Shinkyu-san is the mascot for a campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It must be hot in that costume!

Biodiversity mascot, Sato-kun

Niigata Mascots Descend upon Tokyo

Black Bancho, Na-chan, Reruhi-san, Burikatsu-kun

This week, several mascots from Niigata were to be found in Ueno Station, Tokyo. They came to promote their home prefecture. I managed to see Black Bancho, a super-cool squid from Itoigawa City; Reruhi-San, the 270cm-tall skiing mascot based on Theodor Von-Lerch, an Austro-Hungarian major who brought the sport to Japan; Na-chan, a fireworks fairy from Nagaoka; and Burikatsu-kun, a half-man/half-fish from Sado Island.

Black Bancho

Na-chan, the fireworks fairy

Reruhi-san jabs Burikatsu-kun with a fork.

Saitama Mascots Assemble

Today, under the shadow of an incoming typhoon, thirty mascots from Saitama Prefecture came together in Kumagaya Sports Culture Park (in Kumagaya, Saitama). They came to celebrate their native prefecture, outside a football stadium where Saitama’s FC Omiya Ardija were playing Gamba Osaka. Ardija means squirrel in Spanish, and the team’s squirrel mascots were present. The match was a draw (2-2).

Each of the characters had a QR code on its person for you to scan on your phone, each of which revealed a word. After getting six words you could add them all together to make a question, which you then had to answer in order to enter a raffle to win prizes. The question was an obscure one—about an Omiya Arija striker’s goal scoring record. Luckily a beer stand barman helped me out with the answer and I could enter the raffle.

Eventually it began to rain and the yuruchara waddled away.

Here are a few of the mascots I met:

Mappu, the windmill mascot of Matsubushi Town.

Tamarlin, the mascot of Saitama Super Arena

Potekuma, the potato bear of Chichibu.

Hanipon, the mascot of Honjo City.

Midorino of Midori Village.

Popotan, a new dandelion fairy mascot from Asaka City.

Komugicchi, wheat mascot of Kamisato town.

Sakaron, mascot of Sakado City.

Teletama-kun, the mascot of Television Saitama.

Natchan, one of the mascots of Kamikawa.

Fuwappi is the name shared by the twin brother and sister mascots of Fujimi City.

Tana-chan, the mascot of Namegawa Town.

Hasupi, mascot of Hasuda City.

Kumagaya City mascot, Nyaozane.

*Edit: One week later I received a package in the mail. I had won a prize in the raffle. A box full of Saitama mascot goodies!

Okayama Mascots Visit Tokyo


On September 8th and 9th, several mascots from the Bitchu area of Okayama Prefecture paid a visit to the Tottori/Okayama Antenna Store in Shimbashi, Tokyo. They were there for the Okayama Bitchu Marche, promoting goods and produce from the area, and encouraging tourism.

Japan Rail’s Okayama mascot, Kumanaku

Yakappi, mascot of Yakage Town, Okayama

Okayama mascot, Yuracchi

Yuruchara Videos

Here are some videos from my new youtube channel, featuring assorted mascots I filmed messing around at various events in Japan this year.

Charadise Japan Part 2

Hina-chan, Tarny-kun, Fukka-chan

Here are some more photos from Charadise Japan, in indoor yuruchara-spotting event held in Shinagawa over the weekend. The mascots almost outnumbered the visitors, and it was a lot of fun to rub shoulders with them.

Trick photography with Hinosshi

Saniel, Komugichi, and Mitsubachi-kun

Hamurin and Shinjuku Awawa

Kuruma-kun and Inanosuke

Ladies man Kamisukoko-kun schmoozes Sana, Sena, and Bona.

Mascots come in all shapes and sizes.

Tokoron, from Saitama’s Tokorozawa City, meets Tsubosa Murai from Saga Prefecture.

TV Kanagawa mascot, Kanagawani, bites into Kawagoe mascot, Tokimo.

The mascots for a medicinal booze named Yomeishu have arrived. It’s party time!

Soy milk mascot, Chosei Tonyu-kun, looks wiped out after a long day.

Chara-dise Japan


Last weekend I went to “Charadise Japan”, a large indoor yuruchara event in the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo. There was a stage, workshops, a restaurant, a trick photography area, and multiple booths selling character goods. Although the event wasn’t very well attended, seeing dozens of mascots interacting in such plush surroundings was a novelty, and I took lots of photos. Here are some of them:

Shibuya’s pink ice cream/dog poo/dog character, Sofuto-kuri Inu, is not out of place posing for a surreal “Alice in Wonderland”-themed trick photograph.

Plus Chan, Hanipon, and Anikinme-kun, hanging out.

Zoukirin meets PsycheDelhi San. Things are getting very trippy.

Asakusamurai browses the gashapon vending machines.

Soy milk mascot, Chosei Tonyu-Kun, enjoys an ice cream sundae. I wonder if it’s made of soy milk?

Oddball unofficial mascot, Kikuchi-kun, poses with members of the girl band, Banzai Japan, while Naganyan lurks behind, hoping for an introduction.

Chosei Tonyu-kun photobombs a picture of Fukka-chan and Saniel.

Big and little sumo mascots, Pier Nishiki and Konitaro.

The increasingly popular Potekuma, the potato/bear from picturesque Chichibu in Saitama.

Tsurugon rescues Muuma from the jaws of a giant Melon Kuma.

Niigata’s Sasadangon strikes a pose in palatial environs.

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