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What’s Yuru-chara? Why are they so popular in Japan?

 

Yuru-chara (ゆるキャラ:yurukyara) is a Japanese term for a category of mascot characters: usually created to promote a place or region, event, organization or business.

They are characterized by their kawaii (cute) and unsophisticated designs often incorporating motifs that represent local culture, history or produce.

 

 

Look at these funny looking Japanese Yurui Mascot Characters ! ↓

 

There are  yuru-chara for everyone ☆

 

Hikonyan (second from left) and his feline friends perform to their fans ☆ ( Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture) – name “Hikone” with “nyan,” Japanese for “meow.”

 

Kids love them. So do adults ♡

 

 

When first-time visitors arrive in Japan, a few things they may notice right off the bat include the juxtaposition of the high-tech and the ancient, the unfailing politeness of locals, and a curious fixation with cuteness — to wit, all the cute mascots that promote regions, historic sites, local specialties and events, the police, you name it.

In recent years, these wildly imaginative mascots have exploded in popularity and profitability, bucking the downward trend of the manga and anime industries that have been declining for a decade.

 

 

This trio is a family ♡

 

 

 

And, unlike multi-billion dollar stars such as Sanrio’s Hello Kitty,

 

 

 

this variety known as yuru-chara” — which means something along the lines of “cheesy but lovable characters” — earn their keep by drawing attention to a particular place, organization or idea despite, or because of, their lack of polish.

What makes yuru-kyara so irresistible to their fans is their disarming air of sweetness and innocence, bolstered by hammy performers who dress up in plush yuru-chara costumes called “kigurumi” and interact with the public, deftly wielding their floppy charm.

 

 

Mascots from Saitama and Tochigi prefectures ☆

 

 

 

People can connect with these characters more because they’re moving around and you can meet them and photograph them. People went nuts when they saw these characters, screaming and taking pictures and giving them presents.

These characters are a good opportunity for small cities in Japan to get people’s attention☺️

 

 

So cute, aren’t they?

 

 

So many Japanese people adore cute characters, regional governments are using mascots to attract more visitors to off-the-beaten-path areas of the country in the hopes of cashing in on the celebrity character hitting it big.

For example, Hikonyan, the samurai cat, boosted visitation 60 percent and still brings in a steady flow of tourists who eagerly purchase all manner of related merchandise.

 

 

 

And

Every single prefecture and lots of cities and neighborhood events have their own cute characters that they use to promote themselves☺️

Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters From Japan, which plumbs the depths of Japan’s cute character culture. And whenever they had a special event, they would trot out these guys in the furry suits.

 

 

Zu-shi-hokky from Hokkaido. What’s the hell it actually?

 

 

To distinguish them from purely commercial characters, such as the incomparable Mickey Mouse, I’ll call them “working characters” because, well, they’ve got a job to do.

You would never have a super cuddly mascot for the U.S. Marine Corps, but the Self-Defense Force in Japan has its very own Prince Pickles.

 

 

 

Likewise, the Tokyo police have Pipo-kun, whose massive ears, large eyes and an antenna help him spot trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway,

Japanese Mascots have gone wild all over Japan! There are literally thousands of them representing local towns and areas, cities, government agencies, banks, products – even prisons!

Japanese mascots earns over US$12 billion. That’s a lot of cash in return for promoting a local area, organization or company! This resulted in mascots for EVERYTHING.

 

And, there are a few Yuru-chara “Legends” who have reached the highest level of awesomeness in Japan☺️

 

 

🔵  Kumamon
Kumamon from Kumamoto prefecture (2011 Champion) ☆

 

Overall winner at the second Grand Prix in 2011, and one of the first yuru kyara to become a huge merchandising success, Kumamon proved a worthy heir to Hikonyan’s title.

Taking his name and form from the character 熊 (kuma), meaning “bear,” Kumamon was created in 2010 in a bid to attract tourism to the prefecture when the Kyūshū Shinkansen service was extended to Kumamoto in 2011.

By no means conventionally adorable, his intense, staring eyes have prompted some to dub him kowa-kawa, or “scary-cute.”

 

 

🔵  Barysan
Barysan (Ehime prefecture, 2012 Champion) ☆

 

This chick-like character of indeterminate gender wears a crown intended to symbolize the nearby Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge and has a fine Imabari towel wrapped around its waist.

Barysan is described as being kind, yet sometimes overly enthusiastic when it comes to extolling the virtues of its home.

Talk of a pleasant disposition, however, is undermined somewhat by Barysan’s cannibalistic tendencies (a favorite dish is local specialty yakitori), and signature baryattack, which has been used on TV to upend rival mascot Kumamon, along with various other human celebrities.

 

 

🔵  Sanomaru
Sanomaru (right) with Mikke (Tochigi Prefecture, 2013 Champion) ☆

 

A rambunctious young samurai from the town at the foot of Sano Castle (abandoned in 1615). In his earnest desire to promote his locale, Sanomaru wears a Sano ramen (the local specialty) bowl instead of a conical sedge hat, with a noodle fringe peeping forth from beneath the brim, and two potato tempura swords thrust into the belt of his pleated hakama.

But despite his unchecked gourmandizing, he is athletic and a born leader, with twinkling eyes that carry an almost hypnotic power to win new devotees to the city he loves so much.

 

 

🔵  Funassyi
Funassyi  (Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture) ☆

Funassyi (Funasshy)—a shrieking, leaping, headbanging, androgynous pear—has yet to even feature at the competition, despite a popularity and earning power that outstrips many of the other mascots combined.

This character is quite famous with its bizarre voice and strange moves. Perhaps everyone in japan already knows about him because he’s a regular in most TV programs.

This mascot is from Hunabashi City and was born from a japanese pear as a fair “Nashi” (japanese pear). His odd but funny moves had bewildered the crowd and entertained them in many ways.

 

 

Created by an anonymous independent designer and initially gaining notoriety through madcap videos posted on a dedicated YouTube channel, Funassyi has become a standard-bearer for a recent wave of “indie” mascots.

 

Funassyi with Chiisana ojisan (small uncle) ♡

 

 

 

 

and more…

 

 

 

 

Sento-kun from Nara Prefecture (odd baby-faced character)

 

 

Mari-mokkori from Hokkaido

 

 

 

Jinmenseki-kun from Nagasaki (stone faced mascot of a mystical island)

 

 

Bay-ga-Sencyo, (Sencyo means ship’s master) from Minami-Shimabara-city, Nagasaki prefecture
 

 

 

 

And more and more…

 

Ikaaru-seijin (Squid Monster ) and Monbe-mon (?) from Hokkaido

 

 

Melon Kuma from Hokkaido (scary bear with a melon head)

 

 

Zon bear (zombie + bear) He is looking for a boy who owns him.

 

 

Min-Min-3 brothers

 

 

Shimabaran, from shimabara-city, Nagasaki prefecture

 

 

Chihaya-hime (princess) ,Kyoto

 

 

O-Sun (middle aged man + Sun)

 

 

Tomato-human

 

 

Fula-Ojisan (Fula dance + middle aged man)

 

 

 

???

 

 

From movie “Kings of Egypt”

 

 

 

Nyango-star    (Cat + Ringo Starr)

 

 

 

 

We are famous for the successful example of town revitalization.

Bye-Bee—-♡