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No.229 (2/8/13)

ゆるキャラ 2012 :Yuru chara 2012

By Emiko S.
Staff Writer

“Yuru chara” is the nickname of the Yurui mascot characters that are adorable and loved by everyone. They resemble a Disney like character and get the attention, dedication and loyalty of the people they support in each prefecture. Literally translated “Yurui” means “loose and floppy.” These characters are used for different promotional events, campaigns and development projects in the area. Japanese mascots of this nature have to be costumed and made by the nation, local governments or other public agencies.

There are three laws the Yuru chara has to abide by:

  1. It has to strongly love its hometown.
  2. It has to move and act unpredictably.
  3. It has to be loose, exciting and beloved.

There was a Yuru chara contest in 2012. The contest had twenty five Aomori prefecture entries compete for the best yuru chara in Japan . Sadly, none of the Aomori characters made it to the top ten however they did an excellent job and definitely gave it their best try.

The top ten Yuru chara in Japan in 2012:

1. Bary-san (Ehime pref.)
Bary-san is from Imabari-city in Ehime prefecture. Imabari is famous for skewered grilled chicken so Bary-san is a chick. His costume promotes ships and fishing with a bridge on his head, a barrel haramaki, stomach warmer and a wallet that looks like a ship. He is hilarious because he stores his wallet in the haramaki.

2. Choruru (Yamaguchi pref.)
Choruru is a gentle character with uniquely styled green hair. He resembles a joker and Choruru enjoys promoting exercising and doing it himself. It is said that his hair catches the energy from people and from nature.

3. Gumma-chan (Gumma pref.)
馬 (Uma) of 群馬 (Gumma) means horse and likewise, this endearing mascot looks like a horse. Gumma-chan promotes the Gumma prefecture in many fun costumes through TV shows and publicity activities. He is the most known character in Gumma pref. and keeps the crowd entertained.

4. Sanomaru (Tochigi pref.)
Sanomaru is from Sano-city in Tochigi pref. He is a cat Samurai who promotes Sano-city and lives in Sano castle town. He wears a hat which is made from a ramen noodle dish with “SANO” written on it. Even this characters hair is made from ramen noodles and his signature Japanese sword is made of deep fried potatoes.

5. Fukka-chan (Saitama pref.)
Fukka-chan is a cute animal dressed up like a long green onion. Fukka-chan is from Fukaya-city in Saitama prefecture. Fukaya-city's long onion is very famous for its unique and appetizing taste. It is so delicious! We recommend if you are there, to try it and to find Fukka-chan if you can.

6. Shimanekko (Shimane pref.)
Shimanekko is a cute yellow cat (neko means cat) from Shimane. She has the famous Izumo shrine's roof on top of her head. She is well known and truly cared for.

7. Syusse Daimyo Ieyasu-kun ( Shizuoka pref.)
This character promotes Hamamatsu-city in Shizuoka pref. Hamamatsu castle is called succeeding in life castle. This eccentric character wears an eel's on top of his head, orange mark and a piano on his Japanese style clothes. This character is a   native   of the area and the founder of the Tokugawa   Shogunate. It is believed that when you touch his eel, you will encounter success in your life.

8. Yanana ( Gifu pref.)
Yanana is modeled after a famous mermaid statue invaquaju yanagase park in Gifu pref. She is a beautiful mermaid with a square head and a beautiful smile. She helps promote the yanagase shopping arcade. Sadly though, this character is retiring this year.

9. Ayukoro-chan (Kanagawa pref.)
Ayukoro-chan is a pig from Atsugi-city in Kanagawa prefecture. This city is well-known for its Shiro koro horumon (Fried Pig's intestine) from the B1 prix. Another favorite dish, the ayu fish, he character wears on his head. This character is always full of surprises and likes an adventure and hot springs !

10. Takinomichi Yuzuru (Oosaka pref.)
Takinnomichi Yuzuru promotes Minoo-city in Oosaka prefecture. This city is well known for its famous citrus fruit, yuzu, and maple leaves. The character itself, looks like the yuzu and his leafy hair proves his love of both Minoo favorites.

You can see more of the nation's Yuru chara on this site. Choose your favorite Yuru chara. Enjoy!!

Yuru chara homepage:

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