Category: Kumamon

Furusato Festival 2018

All this week, the Furusato Matsuri (home town festival) is being held in the enormous Tokyo Dome. It’s mainly an excuse to sample local delicacies from all over the country, but plenty of mascots can be seen milling around there. I went there on Sunday, and here are a few of the characters I encountered:

A melancholy duck with a leek for a tail, Gaya-chan (left) is the mascot of Koshigaya City. Tairyouhousaku-kun (right) is the Furusato Festival’s mascot.

The ubiquitous Kumamoto Prefecture mascot, Kumamon, clowns around on the stage.

Ikaaru Seijin the alien squid hails from Hakodate, Hokkaido.

Lerch-san is perhaps Japan’s tallest mascot, and promotes skiing in Niigata Prefecture. He is modeled on Theodor von Lerch, an Austro-Hungrarian soldier who introduced skiing to Japan.

Shimanekko is a cat with a shrine roof for a hat, and the mascot of Shimane Prefecture.

Kii-chan, the mascot of Wakayama, is excited about 2018 (it’s the year of the dog).

Potato-headed Hinojaga-kun, from Tokyo’s Hinohara Village, pretends to give a speech.

CHI-BA+KUN, a dog in the shape of the outline of Chiba Prefecture, promotes the Aqua Line Marathon to be held later this year.

Kumamon Exhibition in Matsuya Ginza Deparment Store

An exhibition of pictures and memorabilia related to Kumamoto Prefecture’s beloved bear mascot, Kumamon, is currently being held in Tokyo’s Matsuya Ginza Department Store. The exhibition is free and will be held until December 28th. Items on display include illustrations and life-size models of Kumamon, photographs from his recent tour of France, and several costumes worn by the photogenic bear. I went along today and enjoyed it immensely.

The Sumida Gotouchi-Chara Festival 2017 – Day 1

Last weekend was the annual Gotouchi-chara Festival in Sumida, Tokyo. One hundred different regional mascots gathered at three stages and a park near the base of Japan’s tallest structure, the Sky Tree. Here are some pictures from the first day of the event.

Tosakenpi, winking. Tosakenpi is a Tosa dog from Harimaya Bridge in Kochi. He likes sweet potato “kenpi” snacks.

2012 Yuruchara Grand Prix winner, Bari-san, is a giant baby chicken and the mascot of Imabari City in Ehime. Ehime is famous for chicken dishes, so he should consider relocating.

Cable internet company JCOM’s bouncy mascot ZAQ meets noodle-brained Udon Nou from Kagawa Prefecture.

The slick and streetwise squid, Black Bancho, is the mascot for Itoigawa City in Niigata.

Konyudo-Kun, the mascot for Mie Prefecture’s Yokkaichi City, pulls out his tongue.

Yoichi-kun, mascot of Otawara City, Tochigi, sells his wares.

Chiryuppi of Chiryu City, Aichi.

Mikke-Chan is a ballet dancing calico cat and the mascot for a shopping street in Hirakata City, Osaka.

Todorocky is the mascot for Todoroki, in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. He’s a musclebound sea lion who likes boxing and sweet buns.

Chiba mascot, CHI-BA+KUN, takes his shape from the outline of the prefecture.

The ubiquitous Kumamon, of Kumamoto Prefecture, busts some moves on the stage.

Sugamon the duck is a hit with the older women- he’s the mascot for Sugamo shopping district, the fashion Mecca for Tokyo’s elderly ladies.

Zombear entertains the crowd with a string of intestines.

2UYakisoban, a superhero with a bowl of yakisoba noodle soup for a head, hails from Kuroishi City in Aomori.

Tochigi mascot, Tochi-suke, is a warehouse fairy.

Melon-haired, onsen-eyebrowed Kikuchi-kun is the unauthorised mascot for Kikuchi, Kumamoto. He loves his town but scares local children.

The adorable Ebecchan is the sightseeing ambassador of Sanda City in Hyogo. His special skill is catching rice balls.

Hamamatsu’s Ieyasu-kun was the winner of the 2015 Yuruchara Grand Prix.

Shimabaran is the guardian deity of Shimabara, Nagasaki. This character was designed by the creator of Yokai Watch, Noriyuki Konishi.

Sumidile is the mascot of Fugador Sumida, the local futsal team.

Big-eared Hanipon (left) is the mascot of Honjo City in Saitama and came second in last year’s Yuruchara Grand Prix. Here he meets the regal Isa King (right) who hails from Isa City, Kagoshima.

Kiriko-chan looks like the fog that rolls in from the sea in her hometown of Miyoshi City, Hiroshima.

Tokoron, of Tokorozawa in Saitama, doesn’t usually have those eyebrows.

Obuse Kuri-chan of Obuse, Nagano is surely the world’s biggest chestnut.

Hokkaido’s Jingisukan No Jinkun is a sheep named after a grilled mutton dish. No wonder he’s brandishing a sword.

Ginza Willow Festival 2017


Yesterday various yuru-chara mascots from around Japan were to be found on Tokyo’s Nishi-Ginza Dori for the 11th annual Willow Festival, a festival named after the trees that line the street.

The best-known of the characters in attendance was the ubiquitous Kumamon, who soaked up most of the attention as he paraded around in a traditional robe.

Kumamon

Kumamon was joined by fellow bear, Arukuma, the official mascot of Nagano prefecture. He enjoys walking and has a variety of different hats.

Arukuma

Also at the event was the minimalistic Kitekero-kun, the “hospitalitiy section manager” of Yamagata prefecture, pictured here without his trademark rolling suitcase.

Kitekeru-kun

Gunma-chan and Mito-chan, pictured below, have a lot in common. They are both tiny and are named after their hometowns. Gunma-chan has been around since 1983 (since when he has evolved from a blue-maned horse into his current incarnation), and won the coveted Yuruchara Grand Prix prize in 2014. Mito-chan, of Mito City, Ibaraki, has only been around for four years and is modelled on the television period drama character, Mito Komon.

Gunma-chan (left) meets Mito-chan (right)

Kumamon Joins a Wedding

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On Sunday I was lucky enough to witness a couple celebrating their wedding with various yuru-chara, including Kumamon. The mascot-crazed couple’s nuptials were among the festivities at the World Mascot Summit in Hanyu, Saitama. Kumamon looked eager to whisk the bride away himself, the scoundrel.

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