Monday, March 19, 2012

Kochi’s “Yuru-kyara”

Katsuo Ningen
   Do you know what a “Yuru-kyara” is? A “Yuru-kyara” is a character that acts as a mascot for a prefecture or city, or sometimes a company. These characters help promote information for the place they represent, as well as helping to promote the sale of regional goods. Every prefecture has its own characters. Let’s learn a little bit about Kochi’s “Yuru-kyara!”

 Probably the most famous of Kochi’s characters is “Katsuo Ningen,” a severed fish head clad in a loincloth. Katsuo Ningen worked as a tourism ambassador celebrating the first anniversary of the prefecture’s showroom, “Marugoto Kochi” in Ginza, Tokyo for a month. After that, he said he will return to the life of a normal katsuo, but you can still find him in events and souvenir shops!

 Another popular character is “Kuroshio-kun,” who was designed based on the Kuroshio Current, which flows along Kochi’s coast. You can see him on many signs and billboards all across Kochi Prefecture.

 In 2004, a group of 6 characters was created to promote awareness of disaster prevention in the case of the Nankai Earthquake. Some of the characters include “Tsunami-man,” “Jishin-man,” and “Dr. Trough.” Jishin-man looks a little scary, but they will teach you all about how to prepare for the Nankai Earthquake!
Jishin-man (left) and Kuroshio-kun (right)

 There are many other characters that represent Kochi Prefecture, and if you want to learn more about them you can check out the official web page at http://www.pref.kochi.lg.jp/chara/index.html !

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