Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?

| Apr 19, 2014

Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?

by Philip Brasor

Several weeks ago Fuji TV’s morning news show sent a reporter to the Gunma Prefecture “antenna shop” located across the street from the Kabukiza theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The store, which sells products made in Gunma, pays ¥64 million a year in rent ...

Mascot Kumamon turns cute into bear market

Mar 12, 2014

Mascot Kumamon turns cute into bear market

by Hiroshi Hiyama

The clumsy bear mascot for a remote Kyushu farming region has rocketed to superstar fame and has notched up an unlikely marketing triumph in a nation obsessed with all things cute. The life-sized Kumamon and his now nationally ubiquitous image — red cheeks and ...

Feb 13, 2014

Kyushu 'hina' get lift from mascots

Kumamon the black bear and Kyushu’s other prefectural mascots have been brought to Tokyo to promote an exhibition of antique “hina” dolls from the island’s seven prefectures. Hina dolls are traditionally displayed for the “hinamatsuri,” or doll’s festival, celebrated on March 3 for girls’ ...

Kumamon, governor tickle the ivies

Nov 13, 2013

Kumamon, governor tickle the ivies

Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima on Tuesday took Kumamon to Harvard to give a lecture at one of America’s most prestigious universities on how the cuddly black bear mascot has helped “maximize the overall happiness” of the prefecture’s residents. Later at Fenway Park in nearby ...

Kumamoto mascot Kumamon greets Imperial Couple

Oct 28, 2013

Kumamoto mascot Kumamon greets Imperial Couple

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were greeted by Kumamoto Prefecture’s official mascot, the popular black bear character called Kumamon, at the prefectural office Monday. The Imperial Couple, who have been visiting the prefecture since Saturday, thanked Kumamon for his display of comical movements. After ...

May 21, 2013

Kumamon mascot to visit France

Kumamon, the official black bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, will visit France in July to take part in the Japan Expo, local officials said Monday. Kumamon, one of Japan’s most popular regional promotional mascots, will be making its European debut at the culture and ...

Kumamon mascot sees surge in 2012 product sales

Mar 1, 2013

Kumamon mascot sees surge in 2012 product sales

Sales of products featuring Kumamon, the official black bear mascot for Kumamoto Prefecture, swelled to at least ¥29.36 billion in 2012, about 11 times more than the previous year, officials said. Taking advantage of the boom, prefectural officials said a Kumamon song — the ...

Mascots bear cash for local authorities

| Jan 13, 2013

Mascots bear cash for local authorities

by Philip Brasor

In September 2007, after Shinzo Abe had abruptly quit his first stint as prime minister, sales of Shin-chan Manju, a bean-paste-filled bun named after Abe, spiked. The maker of the buns had tried to promote the product over the course of Abe’s year as ...