• Chunichi Shimbun

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Men wearing gold, full-body suits and costume hats, themed as taiyaki (a waffle-like cake shaped like a fish, typically filled with red bean paste), have started to appear in central Nagoya, attracting the attention of pedestrians. The men call themselves the Shachihoko Boys — a reference to a golden imaginary creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a fish, which can be found on the roof of Nagoya Castle. Last year they released a debut CD. They’re ambitious, and are looking to break into the global market.

But what exactly do they hope to achieve by strutting around Nagoya in such eye-catching costumes? During a recent public holiday, 32-year-old Motoki Ikeda, who runs a restaurant, and four of his friends — all wearing the gold body suits — strode through the gate of Osu Kannon. The temple was packed with visitors, who immediately turned to the five men. One of them asked, “Are you supposed to be taiyaki?” When they replied that they are the Shachihoko Boys, they were welcomed enthusiastically by those who understood the cultural reference.

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