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 are called “yuru chara” in Japan and there are certain guidelines to become one:

1) The character must convey a love for the local area or hometown
2) Character movements or behavior should be unique, unstable or awkward
3) They should also be YURUI meaning unsophisticated, laid-bak – and absolutely lovable!

In this episode, John Daub travels to Shizuoka to attend the 2015 Yuruchara Grand Prix held in Hamamatsu city. 1727 mascots were entered. In the first Yuru Chara Grand Prix in 2010, only 169 mascots were entered so there’s been an explosion of characters!

We will also take a close look at Kumamon くまモン who is the most recognized mascot in Japan. Kumamon is from Kumamoto which was recently hit with massive earthquakes. Kumamon now is bringing happiness to those effected by the earthquake and will help to rebuild the image of Kumamoto prefecture.
How much money do Japanese mascots generate for Japan?
In 2012, the strongest year for yuru chara growth, they generated US$16B.

URL: Yuru Chara Grand Prix http://www.yurugp.jp/
Won won? The Japanese Mascot ranking for 2015: http://www.yurugp.jp/vote/result_rank…
Yonago City Tourism (Yonegees) http://www.city.yonago.lg.jp/yonegees/

Music: KUMAMONMON くまモンもん song Kumamoto Prefecture URL: http://kumamon-official.jp/ Full Song Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwmeK…