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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. 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. 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.
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.
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