National

Iconic Japanese mascot Kumamon to become YouTuber

Kyodo

Kumamon, the popular black bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, will debut as a YouTuber next month, sharing online its experiences with sports, arts and crafts in multiple languages, the local government said Wednesday.

Starting Sept. 3, a two-minute video featuring the official mascot of the southwestern prefecture will be uploaded onto its YouTube account every Monday. The videos can also be viewed on Kumamon’s official website.

The videos will have English subtitles, while versions with French, German, Chinese and Korean subtitles will be made available later, according to the prefectural government.

The first episode will feature Kumamon being ordered by Gov. Ikuo Kabashima to become a YouTuber. The prefectural government said it plans to release some 40 Kumamon videos in total.

“We hope to make Kumamon a character beloved by people around the world,” Kabashima said.

Kumamoto was rocked by deadly earthquakes in April 2016, and the mascot has been used to help reconstruction efforts, with local businesses given permission to use its image free of charge upon approval by the government.