Home Podcasts Japan Station Japan Station 07: The Wacky World of Japanese Mascots with Chris Carlier

Japan Station 07: The Wacky World of Japanese Mascots with Chris Carlier

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Episode seven of the Japan Station podcast is here and this time we’re taking a deep dive into the crazy world of Japanese mascots.

Chris Carlier runs the blog Mondo Mascots and the very popular Twitter and Instagram accounts of the same name. On Mondo Mascots Chris documents Japan’s many, many, many mascots. From the bizarre to the cute, Chris covers them all. In this episode we discuss the history of Japanese mascots, the origins of the term yuru kyara  (yuru chara) and how it is different from go-tōchi kyara, the voting scandal at the 2018 Yuru Chara Grand Prix, whether the popularity of Japanese mascots is on the decline, Chris’ desire to get a yuru kyara designed by him turned into a costume, and, of course, we talk about a whole lot of odd mascots, including the infamous algae ball with an erection from, Marimokkori. So yeah, this one’s a pretty silly one.

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Extra Stuff

For more mascot content, make sure to check out Mondo Mascots.

Mondo Mascots Blog

Mondo Mascots on Twitter

Mondo Mascots on Instagram

If you’d like to see any of the mascots we mentioned in this episode, just keep on scrolling down because they’re pretty much all here.

Here is Kumamoto’s beloved bear that actually isn’t a bear, Kumamon. This is a dance video for a Kumamon theme song called “Kumamonmon.” It’s quite catchy.

Here is a song for the cat samurai mascot of Hikone, Hikonyan. This song is called “Hikonyan Ondo.” This one too is quite a catchy tune.

Here’s Namakoro, the pink sea cucumber in a sailor outfit who is the mascot for Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force in the Sasebo region.

Here’s a compilation of some of the crazy stunts that have made Chiitan the otter so popular.

Here is Arukuma, the apple-hat wearing bear from Nagano who loves to walk (aruku is “walk” in Japanese). The video below is yet another dance video.

Here’s Melon Kuma from Yubari City in Hokkaido. He’s a frightening bear with a melon head, which makes sense since Yubari is known for its melons and bears. Melon Kuma (kuma means “bear” by the way) is also very active and the video below shows how athletic this guy is. Just look at this him ski!

Here’s Andreza Giant Panda (a.k.a. Andre the Giant Panda), a physically massive pro-wrestling mascot from Hokkaido.

Here’s Waka P, the mascot of Wakayama Women’s Prison.

Here’s the stretchy natto-themed mascot Nebaru-kun in a dance video.

Here’s the weird googly-eyed sushi mascot of Hokuto City in Hokkaido, Zuuushiiihokkiii.

Here’s Mecha-Shinagawan and Mecha-Nebaru-kun.

Here’s Shibuya’s unofficial dog poop mascot Soft Kuri’inu. He’s the poop of the famous dog Hachiko. For more on him, check out this article.

Here’s the infamous Marimokkori. He’s an algae ball with an erection from Hokkaido. Also (not surprisingly) an unofficial mascot.

And here is Marimokkori’s theme song. Called “Kori Kori Marimokkori,” this song is so catchy it will get stuck in your head for days on end, watch at your own risk.

Here is the asexual pear fairy Funassy. This is a music video for Funassy’s heavy metal band, Charamel. One listen and you will become a fan. Also, Funassy does in fact sound quite a bit like the Bad Brains singer, as Chris noted.

Here is the incredible drumming cat apple from Aomori Nyango Star performing the famous “Anpanman March.”

Here is a video of Tama-chan from Tama and Friends (a.k.a. San-Chōme no Tama: Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka?) awkwardly walking (or waddling) around a store in Fukuoka.

And last but not least, here’s a music video featuring Muay Thaishi, the mascot of the Japanese embassy in Thailand and perhaps the “punniest” mascot ever. He is a kickboxing (muay thai), sea bream (a species of fish known as tai in Japanese) ambassador (taishi).

Just in case you’d like to learn about the big-brestead sexy bird mascot Paiko, you can go here. And to read about the giant soccer-playing origami crane mascot Kizūru, check out this article.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena
To listen to more of Yunomi’s music, check out his Soundcloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Featured image: Shows Chris Carlier with Chiitan. Courtesy of Chris Carlier.

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