blog

8 kawaii mascots of Japan

Three kawaii mascots

(Photo by Hetarllen Mumriken licensed CC BY-SA)

Did you know that Japan has over 3,000 different mascots representing everything from cities to events? During the pandemic they may not be out as much, but usually you would see them around everywhere.

The mascots are called yuru-kyara (say "yoo-roo keh-rah"). They are colourful, creative and kawaii (say "kah-wah-ee"). That means they’re oh so cute!

Here are eight loveable mascots that you should definitely know about!


Kumamon

Kumamon the mascot

(Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images)

Kumamon comes from Kumamoto Prefecture (like a province) in Japan. It's one of the most popular mascots in Japan.

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.


Ragamaru Kun

Ragamaru Kun the mascot

(Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

The rugby World Cup came to Chofu city in Tokyo in 2019. A Japanese actor who loves the sport thought the city could use a mascot to welcome visitors from around the world. He designed the puppy-looking Ragamaru Ken. The name is a combination of "rugger" and "round."

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

Chofu city, part of Tokyo, Japan.


Choruru

Choruru the mascot

(Photo used with permission ©Yamaguchi Prefecture)

Choruru has green antennae on his head. They are in the shape of the first Kanji (Japanese alphabet) character of the word "Yamaguchi." His face is the shape of the second Kanji character of the word. Choruru and Hello Kitty were joined in the first ever “Friendship Pact.” The two characters work together to spread joy!

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

The region of Yamaguchi, Japan.


Funassyi

Funassyi the mascot

(Yuya Shino/Reuters)

Funadius the Fourth, or Funassyi for short, is a 1,881-year-old pear. It is the fourth of 274 children! Its parents are pear trees. It likes to move very fast, shriek and jump. It even listens to heavy metal music!

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

The city of Funabashi, Japan.


Ren-G

The Ren-G lions

(Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Ren-G are shishi — sacred lion-like creatures believed to bring happiness and keep evil away. These spcecial Ren-G spread the spirit of the sport of rugby. They love to swing their hair around and do the Ren-G dance.

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

The Rugby World Cup 2019.


Sanomaru

Sanomaru the mascot

(Photo by mono licensed CC BY SA)

Sanomaru has an upside-down bowl of ramen noodles on its head. They also carry potato fries to use as a sword. These foods also just happen to be its town's food specialty!

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

Sano City, Japan.


Hikonyan

Hikonyan the mascot

(Photo credit: Moris Chan / Public Domain)

Hikonyan's name combines two words. The beginning is the name of its city (Hikone). The end is the Japanese sound for a cat’s meow (Nyan)!

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

The 400th anniversary of Hikone Castle and Hikone city.


Miratowa and Someity

Miratowa and Someity the mascots

(Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Of course, the Olympics had to have their own mascot! And what’s better than one mascot? Two mascots! Miraitowa and Someity are the official mascots for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics of Japan 2020. Both characters have superpowers like teleportation and flying. They are also the best of friends!

Super kawaii!

kawaii iconOfficial mascot for:

The 2018 Tokyo Olympic Games.