マスコットキャラクター character mascot

You can’t stay in Japan for long before meeting a character mascot. Cities, prefectures, companies, all have a cute mascot to personify and represent them to the public. Sometimes they are controversial, such as when Nara combined two things it is most famous for—deer and the Great Buddha—to make a mascot in the form of a cute infant Buddha with antlers. The effect was oddly disturbing.

Character mascots have been in the news this month because the annual character mascot grand prix took place in Saitama prefecture. This year’s overall winner was Bari-san, an egg-shaped bird character representing Imabari city (a major producer of yakitori chicken).

bari

This is the mascot of the central ward of Osaka city, Yumemaru-kun. I met him outside the gas building one day at lunchtime. He is wearing Osaka castle on his head.

DSC_0172

This is Koya-kun, the mascot of Koya-san, the mountain monastic settlement that we visited earlier this month:

DSC_2106

One of the mascots of Sakai city, where we live, is Sakaeru. He represents a 16th-century European (a Dutchman, judging by his shoes), reminding us of Sakai’s importance in the early days of contact and trade between Japan and Europe.DSCN4562

Hanging from a strap around Sakaeru’s neck is a mini-mascot called Misosakai. Misosakai is a helmeted, near-spherical brown bird.

Another mascot of Sakai city is Zabieru-kun, a Portuguese character. You can see him riding in this ship in the parade; he’s the one in the green hat. While the original St Francis Xavier tried to bring Christianity to Japan, his modern namesake promotes “eco” living.DSC_0640

Also at the Sakai festival was Mimi-chan, the mascot of Sakai city’s Minami ward.

DSCN4563

Marching in the parade was Chin-den-kun, the mascot of the Hankai tram (known affectionately as the Tin Tin Train).

DSC_0158

Advertisements

One thought on “マスコットキャラクター character mascot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s