Retired Osaka icon Kuidaore Taro looks to drum up some ad work

Kyodo News

Drum-beating mannequin Kuidaore Taro, the beloved restaurant mascot that became an Osaka landmark, will not be sold off but instead rented out as a “tarento” (TV talent), its owner told reporters this week in Osaka.

Taro will be rented for commercials, festivals and other advertisement purposes, said Michiko Kakinoki, the 67-year-old owner of the doll.

The bespectacled clown, which stood in front of the famous Kuidaore restaurant in Osaka’s Dotonbori district for nearly 60 years, lost his home when the eatery closed earlier this year.

Kakinoki has received more than 200 offers from across the country to buy the mannequin, but decided not to sell it to help “enliven Dotonbori and Osaka.”

Responding to the wishes of fans and local shop owners, Taro will keep standing somewhere in Dotonbori when he is not being rented out, she said.

Kakinoki’s family ran the Kuidaore eatery, which closed in July. The family announced they would sell the mannequin, but many Taro-lovers in Osaka asked the family to keep it in the area.