Kumamon (mascot)

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Kumamon, mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, is used in many advertising campaigns, such as this one on a train in Osaka.
Exterior of a Kumamon-themed Hisatsu Orange Railway train.
The interior of a the Kumamon-themed HSOR train.

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 Kumamoto Surprise (くまもとサプライズ Kumamoto Sapuraizu?) to draw tourists to the region after the Kyushu Shinkansen line opened.[1] Kumamon subsequently became nationally popular, and in late 2011 he won a nationwide vote of other mascots, collectively known as Yuru-kyara (ゆるキャラ?), garnering over 280 thousand votes.[2][3] Following his success at the contest Kumamoto earned ¥11.8 billion (US$120 million, GB£79 million, €93 million) in merchandising revenues 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 believed that Kumamon's cute appearance and comical movements contribute to his popularity, which was waning before a redesign and his entry into the contest.[4]


  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. ^ a b 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. 

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