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For the Digimon Frontier character, see List of Digimon Frontier characters.
Kumamon as a costumed mascot

Kumamon (くまモン?) is a mascot created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. He was first created in 2010 for a campaign called to draw tourists to the region after the Kyushu Shinkansen line opened.[1] Kumamon subsequently became nationally popular, and in late 2011, was voted top in a nationwide survey of mascots, collectively known as yuru-chara, garnering over 280,000 votes.[2][3] Following his success in the contest, Kumamoto earned ¥11.8 billion (US$120 million, GB£79 million, €93 million) in merchandising revenue for the first half of 2012, after having only earned ¥2.5 billion (US$26 million, GB£17 million, €20 million) throughout all of 2011.[4][5]

It is thought that Kumamon's popularity and brand presence derives from being the sole mascot Kumamoto Prefecture, unlike other institutions and regions that have multiple characters vying for popularity. The Bank of Japan estimates that in the two years that he has been promoting Kumamoto that he has generated ¥123.2 billion in revenue.[6][7]

Exterior of a Kumamon-themed Hisatsu Orange Railway train, November 2012

Kumamon's name is created from the combination of kuma (?, "bear"), the first word in Kumamoto, and mon, a variant of mono (?, "thing") in the local dialect.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top Ten Japanese Character Mascots". Finding Fukuoka. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  2. ^ "Japan's #1 Mascots: Kumamon, Bary-san, and Nishiko-kun". Japan Probe. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Kumamoto Mascot “Kuma-mon” Won First Prize | Tenkai-japan:Cool Japan Guide-Travel, Shopping, Fashion, J-pop". Tenkai-japan. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  4. ^ Brasor, Philip (2013-01-13). "Mascots bear cash for local authorities". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  5. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (2012-12-25). "Isn't That Cute? In Japan, Cuddly Characters Compete - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  6. ^ "Mute bear caricature gives press conference - Latest - New Straits Times". Nst.com.my. 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  7. ^ Brasor, Philip (2014-04-15). "Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  8. ^ Inada, Miho; Wakabayashi, Daisuke (Dec 26, 2012). "The Life and Times of Japan’s Mascots". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 

External links[edit]