JAPAN - A company in Konosu, Saitama Prefecture, that specialises in making full-body costumes is riding a wave of popularity for adorable yuru-kyara mascots.
Yuru-kyara are cute, relaxed and unsophisticated--literally "loose" (yurui). As an increasing number of such mascot characters are promoting localities or other entities, the small firm Funny Craft is growing to be one of the leading companies in the industry.
The firm boasts "a lovely look, exactly the same as imagined" when filling orders for mascot suits. It receives a wide range of orders ranging from famous manga characters to a mascot for a prefectural police force. "Our full-body suits fit you so well. They aren't 'loose' at all," said the firm's president, Junjiro Kamijo, 69.
Five employees work steadily at its about 500-square-metre factory, which is filled with paper patterns and basic costume parts made of polystyrene foam.
In its about 30-year-long history, the firm has made thousands of full-body suits. Five years ago, it began to receive orders in excess of its capacity, and sometimes could not accept new orders.
I love mascots, they're so cute! I'm one of those who always runs up to greet and hug mascots!
Recently, Japanese TV aired this hard-hitting investigative report about Japan’s various police mascots:
Their research team contacted police offices across the nation and determined that there are at least 42 different police mascot characters in Japan. Some of the police mascots are national, some are prefectural, and a few are for city/town police forces.
What exactly is the point of having cops dress up in weird mascot costumes? Here is a ranking of the top issues they try to spread awareness about:
1. Bank Transfer Fraud
2. Traffic Safety
3. General Crime Prevention
5. Purse Snatching
It might seem pretty stupid to have police officers assigned to mascot duty, but those wacky costumes can be pretty useful whenever the police want to distribute fliers. A mascot draws everyone’s attention, and people who would otherwise ignore police officers seem more willing to approach them when a mascot is around. Even if people throw away the fliers without reading them, there is a chance that they will still remember encountering the mascots, many of whom have names that are puns based on the message they are trying to promote.
Issues 2 to 5 are focused at children and the general public, but the #1 issue is targeted at elderly people. For years now, telephone fraudsters claiming to be relatives in distress have scammed many elderly people into sending them large sums of money. Many ATM’s in Japan now have posters featuring mascot characters that warn users about scams, and several police forces have been sending their mascots to post offices and banks to spread awareness among the elderly.
Are there alot of mascots where you live for different sort of things? Have you ever been a mascot and what was it like? Tell us your best mascot stories!