• Kyodo


The board of education in Tottori ditched a character meant to promote the city’s historical background just three days after it was unveiled, bowing to protests that it has an “eerie” appearance and makes people think of hunger.

Indeed, Katsue-san, a girl with a pained look dressed in patched clothing and holding a frog in one hand, was created to highlight a tragedy that took place at Tottori Castle in the 16th century, in which many people died from hunger as a result of starvation tactics employed by warlord Hashiba Hideyoshi in fighting the lord of the castle.

“The character makes fun of hunger” was among some 40 opinions the board received in telephone and email messages after unveiling it Monday on the city of Tottori’s official website.

There was also a complaint from a person whose name is Katsue, the board said Thursday. The character was named after “Katsue-goroshi (Killing by Starvation) in Tottori,” as the tragedy is known.

But some people supported the character, the board said. One such comment pointed out that the character will help the public learn about history.

“We did not expect this much of a reaction. It was a misjudgment on our part,” a board official said.

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