The Liberal Democratic Party is inviting the public to submit "yuru-kyara" illustrations to create characters resembling President Shinzo Abe and Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba to help build voter excitement ahead of the next Lower House election.
It is not the first time the LDP has resorted to character cuteness to boost its popularity.
During the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the party sold goods such as towels and coffee mugs bearing the popular "Shishiro" lion character, which was Koizumi wearing a lion costume.
"We look forward to receiving submissions of characters which many people can feel close to," said Sanae Takaichi, chairwoman of the LDP Public Relations Headquarters.
Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 27. The party will present a ¥300,000 cash prize and some goods to the creator of the best character, which will be used on various merchandise.
Yuru-kyara literally means "a loose character." Hundreds of local governments, companies and other entities use characters based on animals and imaginary creatures for promotional purposes.