National / Media | Top Drawer

Narita’s Unari-kun named mascot of 2017

by Natsumi Komiyama

Contributing Writer

Unari-kun, the official mascot of Narita City in Chiba Prefecture, defeated 1,157 rivals from localities nationwide to win this year’s Yuru-kyara Grand Prix title. Chiryuppi of Chiryu, Aichi Prefecture, and Torai-kun of Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, took second and third spots, respectively.

Unari-kun is the special tourism ambassador of Narita, which is famous for its international airport and unagi eel dishes. In light of his victory, here’s 10 things you might not have known about Narita’s lovable mascot:

• Unari-kun’s birthday is Nov. 21, which coincidentally fell two days after the results of the vote were announced.

• He’s half airplane, half eel.

• Unari-kun lives in Narita.

• He’s originally from the planet of Unari.

• He first landed on Earth at Narita’s airport.

• He decided to stay in Narita because the city is full of fantastic places, great food and hospitable people.

• Unari-kun can get along with anybody.

• His favorite phrase is “うな” (“una“), which he often says at the end of his sentences.

• His favorite things are children in Narita, yōkan (sweet bean jelly), teppōzuke (pickled gourd), sweet potatoes, lotus roots and seasonal flowers.

• The cylindrical objects hanging from Unari-kun’s arms do not represent rolls of toilet paper but airplane engines.

Unari-kun has more than 33,500 followers on Twitter. The tweet from his official account announcing the news that he had won the Yuru-kyara award has been retweeted more than 4,900 times and has 8,400 “likes.”

For more information on Unari-kun, visit unarikun.jp or follow him on Twitter @unarikun_narita.