"Shinjo-Kun" Awarded Yuru-Chara Grand Prix 2016
Do you know Japan takes pride in what they call Yuru-Chara mascot dolls? You may or you may not, but we have a lively culture of a large number of local municipalities each having a unique "live" mascot doll called Yuru-Chara that goes wherever assigned to for promoting its hometown, village, community or whatever. My hometown, Okegawa, Saitama, has one named "Okechan" that performs at various stage events or on occasions where Okegawa requires self-promotion.
Yuru-Chara is a life-size costume in the image of some fairy character worn and performed by a human. It is designed in the image of products, tradition, history, etc. of the community it represents.
That said, a "Shinjo-Kun" of Susaki City, Kochi Prefecture, won the 6th Yuru-Chara Grand Prix, November 7, outclassing a total of 1,421 rivals entered from all over Japan. At the Shiroyama Park, Matsuyama City, some 200 yuru-charas participated in various events to self-promote their charms.
Susaki City's Shinjo-Kun was awarded the Grand Prix by voting live at the site and on the Internet. Shinjo-Kun is created in the image of Kawauso or Japanese river otter. "Hanipon" of Honjo City, Saitama, came the second and "Chuppie" of Soja City, Okayama the third.
A city official from Susaki commented:
"It's great that our Shinjo-Kun won the Grand Prix, thanks to so many people. I'm sure Shinjo-Kun has plenty of ways to contribute to the promotion of Susaki City and Kochi Prefecture."
It's interesting to know that Japan's global image as the leader in cultures such as manga, animation images and other such genres actually stems from an underlying concept of fairyland vivid in our mentality.
Not that you have little of such concept at all, I fear the Japanese might have a bit too much of it - because I'm somehow afraid you might regard us a petty childish people cherishing yuru-charas the way we do!. (Nathan Shiga)