Mascot Overload: Japan’s Obsession with Mascots

6. Reruhi-san

With plenty of ski yuru-kyara floating around, Reruhi-san stands out as one of the most popular.

Falling under the weird-but-cute category, his character is based on Austrian Major General Theodore Elder von Lerch, a “winter leisure sports” ambassador who visited Japan. He looks a bit like a garden gnome, and is as sweet as he is creepy. Reruhi-san represents Nigata Skiing promoting the Omotesando Hills.

5. Meron Kuma

Also known as Melon Bear, Meron Kuma looks more like a vicious beast from a fairytale legend than anything else. Still, the bear that dons a crazy green mask and always has his fangs out is quite popular. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to this yuru-kyara which depicts photos of the bear taking a bite out of the other Japanese mascots — and sometimes even travelers visiting the city he represents of Yubari.

4. Nishiko-kun

Not cute, not cuddly, not sweet … at all! Nishiko-kun is far odder than anything else on the mascot spectrum.

How can you describe him? Well, he’s a dog, trapped in a sun, within a circle, that has legs and wears gray spandex tights. He caught the attention of many during the 2011 Mascot Grand Prix, where he won third place! Even more of a reason why being weird can be a good thing at times.

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