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Autumn Leaves 2016

The Yuru-kyara Fever in Japan

Photo: http://blog-imgs-43.fc2.com

The Yuru-kyara Fever in Japan

This year's Yuru-kyara Grand Prix was held in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture on November 3rd.

Yuru-kyara are everywhere in Japan. But what are they exactly? Here is some information to help you understand what are these characters.


Photo:Space key on Wikimedia Commons
The word “Yuru-kyara” is short for “Yurui Mascot Character” in Japanese. Yurui means loose or slack.


Yuru-kyara have gained popularity as mascot characters and appear to support promotional campaigns and events for cities, organizations, local specialty products, events, etc.


The word Yuru-kyara was made by a famous comic artist Jun Miura.

Mr. Miura came up with the original idea of Yuru-kyara when he saw Bunkkaki, the mascot character representing an annual festival in Hiroshima.


The picture above is Bunkkaki.


Photo:Takashi Hososhima on flickr
Yuru-kyara have gradually gained popularity in local cities. Hikonyan, created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Hikone Castle, sparked the “Yuru-kyara boom”.

Mr. Miura came out with three requirements regarding Yuru-kyara’s features:

1. It has to send us a strong message of love for one’s hometown.
2. It has to show us bizarre and unique features.
3. Its laid-back attitude has to be loved by everyone.

Source: http://ja.wikipedia.org/

Currently, there are recognized 1,699 Yuru-kyara according to the number of Grand Prix participants. In addition to popular local Yuru-kyara, there are also other types of Yuru-kyara such as corporate Yuru-kyara.


Photo:Neodaisuke on Wikimedia Commons
Many prefectural governments and companies adopt Yuru-kyara for the purpose of public relations. On the other hand, the super popular Yuru-kyara Funassyi is an unofficial mascot that represents Funabashi City. Because of the following Funassyi’s unique features, it has gained national recognition:

1. It TALKS.
2. It doesn’t have a laid-back attitude unlike other popular Yuru-kyara.
3. It is an unofficial mascot.

Funassyi often shows up in talk shows on TV because people enjoy its sharp tongue.


Photo:Masahiko OHKUBO on flickr
Yuru-kyara related products sell very well and greatly contribute to Japan’s economy.

Now that you know what are Yuru-kyara, let’s see the ranking of Yuru-kyara Grand Prix 2014 next!

Yuru-kyara Grand Prix Website: http://www.yurugp.jp/ (in Japanese)