Thursday, March 14, 2013

What is "Yuru-kyara"?

"Yuru-kyara(ゆるキャラ)"(loose characters) are cute, friendly and a little bizarre mascots owned by national government organizations, local governments, companies, individuals for the purpose of public relations. In recent years in Japan, more and more local governments(prefectures and municipalities) compete to create their own yuru-kyara. It is commonly called "yuru-kyara boom."

One of the most popular yuru-kyara in Japan is "Kumamon(くまモン)", which is a mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture. "Kumamon" is a combination of two words: "Kuma" is short for Kumamoto and "Mon" represents the local dialect that uses that word for the standard Japanese word for "things," or "mono(物)."

Here are Kumamon's images.

Kumamon standing 

Kumamon running 

Kumamon raising his right hand

Kumamon sitting

Kumamon holding an apple in both hands

Kumamon sleeping

Kumamon's official website

Wall Street Journal
--- Isn't That Cute? In Japan, Cuddly Characters Compete
--- The Mischievous Kumamon: The Life and Times of Japan's Mascots

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