Democratic Party to pick official mascot in September

/ Aug 13, 2016

Democratic Party to pick official mascot in September

The Democratic Party is considering selecting its official yuru-kyara (mascot character) in September to coincide with the party’s leadership election, informed sources said. Aiming to give a boost to the main opposition party’s presidential poll, the party plans to hold a public online vote ...

Japan's cuddly yet costly mascots face extermination

Apr 8, 2015

Japan's cuddly yet costly mascots face extermination

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Japan’s swollen ranks of cuddly mascots, once de rigueur for every self-respecting local government and commercial brand, are coming under increasing threat, with some being exterminated and others combined in at times grotesque ways. The cull comes after the Finance Ministry last year decided ...

Shimane mascot boasts rice paddy art

Aug 20, 2014

Shimane mascot boasts rice paddy art

While there are many “yuru-kyara” mascots created to promote prefectures and municipalities nationwide, the one for Shimane Prefecture has grabbed public attention as rice-paddy art. Shimanekko, a cat mascot with the roof of the renowned Izumo Taisha shrine on top of its head, has ...

Japan's cuddly mascots facing layoffs

May 12, 2014

Japan's cuddly mascots facing layoffs

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Dozens of publicly funded cuddly mascots could be culled in Osaka after the prefectural government found the public doesn’t recognize many of them, as managers look to rein in an obsession with cuteness. Thousands of “yuru-kyara” (“laid-back characters”) have been created all over Japan ...

Mascot Kumamon turns cute into bear market

/ Mar 12, 2014

Mascot Kumamon turns cute into bear market

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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 ...

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 ...