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10 Weird and Quirky Japanese Mascots

Japanese mascots, alternatively referred to as yuru-kyara (ゆるキャラ), are created to advertise places, brands and even events. If representing a certain prefecture, the designs of mascots are inspired by the area’s specialty or a unique aspect that the citizens are especially proud of.

Some have enjoyed immense popularity not just in Japan, but on an international scale as well, and are loved worldwide for their distinctive cuteness. For instance, the iconic red cheeked bear Kumamon or Funassyi, the eccentric heavy metal loving pear. (Who travelled to London and even met Cara Delevingne by the way)

With such a wide, ever-expanding variety, what exactly do these magical creatures have in common? You guessed it, they are super adorable! Both children and adults love them, and their appeal is timeless.  

But dig a little bit deeper and you’ll find some unconventional looking ones sporting a different kind of “cute”. You might think twice before hugging some of these. Here are ten cream-of-the-crop mascot picks of the strange or downright wacky:

Tokitama / ときたま (“ Occasionally”)

La la la ~

Hailing from Kagawa prefecture and representing Takamatsu shopping street, we have the duck / egg hybrid Tokitama! Its special charm is the fresh yolk on its head and rather huge lips. It’s so bizarre that it almost borders on looking ugly, but I have to say that the perfectly cracked egg is a genius cute touch.

Okazaemon / オカザえもん

Look into his eyes staring deep into your soul and try telling me you're not scared.

Now this is something you don’t want to see when you’re walking home alone at night. Meet Okazaemon, representative of Aichi’s Okazaki City and quite frankly, the most likely candidate for the title of Creepiest Looking Mascot.

Hokkun / ほっくん

Off for my morning stroll! (It's hard to walk with these short legs)

“I was born from oranges and pears,” chimes the roly poly Hokkun of Yamaguchi prefecture.  It has a cheerful and laidback personality and loves to be stroked on the head! *cues ‘aww’ noises* But I cannot stop thinking how it looks very much like a giant pig’s nose.

Todo rokkī / とどロッキー (“Rocky Sea Lion”)

Giving The Rock a run for his money

Todo rokkī is a Tokyo citizen and spends his time promoting Todoroki shopping street. As well as working out, probably. True to his name, Todo rokkī is one seriously ripped sea lion and puts all his fellow ocean residents to shame. But fret not, despite his intimidating stature, he has a fun, playful character and always has a smile ready for anyone.

Daru Daru / だるだる (“The Listlessness Listlessness”)

Single. And ready to mingle.

All I could think of when I first saw Daru Daru was: Evil Domo. Born in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Daru Daru is actually not as demonic as he looks. He eats curry every day, loves pandas and collects seashells like a little kid. Did I mention that he blogs too? Turns out Daru Daru is pretty knowledgeable with current technologies! Oh, and he’s unmarried. Don’t ask me why I’m telling you that; it was in his profile.

Noriyuki through soup / 出汁之介

I guess too much veggies can be a bad thing.

Representing the Wakkanai Tourism Association, Noriyuki is a lovable looking ombre seal. However, its limbs have turned an eerie green color as it eats too much kelp. I’m not sure if this is funny or disturbing. Noriyuki’s hobby is eating (we all saw that one coming) and his favourite foods include king crab, sea urchin and soy salmon. Pretty refined tastes for a kawaii looking seal.

Human-faced stone-kun / 人面石くん

"I'm totally serious dude, it was THIS big!"

Affiliated with the Iki Tourism Chamber of Commerce and Industry Division, Stone-kun was excavated from the Haranotsuji ruins of the city. He’s in a permanent state of shock and looks like the guy from The Scream painting by Edvard Munch. Or a grey peanut.

Ether King / イーサキング (Doya-gaojan)

Working that facial hair and boss pose

Here’s a handsome face! Presenting Ether King, the charismatic and fashionable mascot of Isa City in Kagoshima Prefecture. He’s bossy, as expected of royalty, but is friendly to children and old folks. Ether King takes pride in his facial care and delights in his beauty. We can all take a leaf out of his book on loving our (good) looks more, and being super stylish!

Ki ̄ bo ̄ / きーぼー (“Keyboard”)

He looks like white mochi but a hundred times cuter

Keyboard is the mascot for the Anjo Tanabata Festival and has an unusual, ethereal look. He looks like a night sky dweller that spends his time taking care of stars and wistfully gazing at the planets. He has a “dopey” personality and enjoys eating candy the most. Keyboard is as pure as he looks!

Victoire Cheval Blanc Muraotoko III / ヴィクトワール・シュヴァルブラン・村男III

Just an ordinary white horse... With big dreams!

Well, isn’t your name a mouthful. No, Victoire Cheval Blanc was not born in France, but originated from a “Pegasus meteor shower” and resides in Hakuba village, located in the Nagano prefecture. He is a self-proclaimed blood type B, likes to say ‘Gamba’ and his charm point is his red lips. Sorry to burst your unicorn bubble guys, but Victoire Cheval Blanc’s wings are handmade and he can’t fly. I feel somewhat cheated. Admirably, his dream is to become a village chief. Let’s all wish Victoire Cheval Blanc good luck!

And that wraps up the list of weird and quirky Japanese mascots. The world of yuru-kyara is truly brimming with creativity. I’m looking forward to discovering new unique mascots in the future! Are you?

P.S. If you'd like to browse more pictures of these mascots, do copy and paste the kanji characters on Google, instead of the English names. That is because most of the mascots featured in this list are covered much more by Japanese bloggers and photographers.

Written by Faelan

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