Yuru-chara: Mascots Everywhere

If you spend some time in Japan, you’ll start to notice that there is a seemingly endless supply of mascots for everything from businesses, government services, events and towns. Most of these mascots are designed to be kawaii because of Japan’s love for all things cute. It is also important to note that the use of yuru-chara for promotions, advertising and simply to attract attention is quite lucrative; sales of mascot related products after all is a billion dollar industry.

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Having mascots for everything is in itself not necessarily weird, though it is rather amusing. However, yuru-chara are purposely designed by amateur artists in a simple and sometimes ugly way yet this is the reason people tend to love these mascots. The weird but cute way that these characters look, as opposed to professional mascots.

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The development of yuru-chara is relatively recent, with the first official mascot being created in 2004. Yet since then there has been an absolute explosion in the creation of new mascots to the point where some towns and cities have warned against over-saturation that might erode the uniqueness of characters. Nevertheless this phenomenon will not go away soon due to its lucrative nature and the weirdness that attracts so many people.

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