Yuru-kyara is a Japanese term that means mascot characters. These mascots are usually created to promote a place or region, event organization or business.
Here are a few top picks of our favourite mascots
Kumamon was created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, as a campaign to bring tourists to the region after the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen line. Kumamon quickly grew popular in Japan and was voted 1st in 2011’s Yuru-kyara contest.
Yubari is a small town in Hokkaido and it’s famous for melons; The melon has become an emblem of the city, so you’ll find it decorating road signs, tourist posters, and most importantly, the (unofficial but very popular) mascot of the city, a bear with his head in a melon. His arch enemy portrayed in his shows are usually none other than Kumamon, but on other occasions while he is not devouring his enemies, the bear-melon can be quite cute or should we say ‘kawaii’.
Jimmy Hattori: Ninja Condom
These Yuru Kyara are even used to promote safe sex in Japan, with one of the most famous being Jimmy Hattori, a ninja with a large pink condom on his head.
Another mascot that has raised eyebrows is Com-chan, a fluffy character also based on a condom that is used by the AIDS information centre in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
SANOMARU is a samurai mascot to promote his local town, SANO-city in TOCHIGI prefecture, Japan. He wears symbols of famous local foods ; Ra-men Noodle bowl and Fried Potato Skewers (Imo-Frai). He won the 2013 Mascot Grand Prix and makes appearances all over his city (Sano City).
Funassyi is a Japanese mascot character, unofficially representing the city of Funabashi, Chiba. It was created by a citizen of Funabashi with the objective of cheering up local residents and to help promote its hometown. It has subsequently appeared at events and festivals, as well as on numerous TV programs and commercials, gaining popularity around Japan. It has also issued 4 CD albums and 6 singles, DVDs, starred in its own anime series and live action drama special, headlined its own concert at Budokan and opened its own character goods store.
Now are you interested to watch these cute little furry animals do a Dance-Off?