Thursday, 16 May 2019


I had a passing acquaintance with the rich and strange world of Japanese municipal and corporate mascots but I now realise that I’ve been gravely underestimating the scope and variety after being referred to a veritable clearinghouse of the characters by Super Punch, first introducing us to Madori-kun, a martial arts wrestler with a blueprint of a small apartment for a face that is the symbol for a real estate agency.
Mondo Mascots has amassed and catalogued over ten thousand images of these Yuru-chara (ゆるキャラ—the title is the term for a local character, a specific reference to area mascots) in costume, rendered or plush form and there are already too many superlative examples to list in this growing collection—so it’s worth investigating the archives and sharing some of your favourites. We also particularly liked this floating, stony Pokémon that’s come to represent the Iwate Prefecture (岩手県, literally “rock hand,” after a legend that a menacing demon was lashed to the local cliff face until pledging to leave the villagers alone, making a hand impression on the rock as a sign—still visible after a rain), especially the way the legs are made invisible.