Japan has hundreds of mascots. It goes far beyond just sports team mascots, as there are mascots for cities, social movements, programs, commercials, organizations, and so much more. Even very serious groups such as the army and navy now have mascot representatives. They range from cute to strange to sometimes even unsettling.
Here are ten mascots from Japan that are known for being a bit on the odd side.
10 Takanabe Taishi-Kun
The most uncanny part of this mascot is its many limbs and faces. Its design is based on a statue in Takanabe Town in Miyazaki, so now this many-faced friend serves as the town mascot.
It is actually a bit popular due to his unique look. The mascot has advertised tea in a commercial, you can buy a plush of it, and it appears on vending machines all over Takanabe Town.
9 Jimmy Hattori
Jimmy Hattori is a ninja with a condom on his head. He was created to promote safe sex in Japan. He is actually not the only one of his kind, as there is another mascot called Chomu-chan who promotes safe sex in Yokohama that is a condom with a heart shape the top. Jimmy Hattori is on the list though because he looks sillier.
In countries like the United States, Jimmy Hattori is very strange since we consider mascots with childlike innocence. However Jimmy Hattori's purpose is a very mature and adult one.
This pink penguin is the mascot for a pharmaceutical company, Ichijiku Pharmaceuticals. It is not only a penguin, but an enema, yes, the device people use to inject liquids or gas into a rectum.
Ichijiku Pharmaceuticals are known to make fig-based laxatives, to the mascot was designed to also resemble a fig. To meet this mascot, you would typically need to attend an event by Ichijiku Pharmaceuticals. You may get lucky and even get a keychain of Kan-chan!
7 Matagi No Momiji-Chan
This gun wielding sika deer mascot comes from Hokkaido. It hunts hunters and it pretty new to the Japanese mascot world, as it was revealed in 2016. However, Momiji-chan has been warmly received due to being cute and feisty. It having a gun is also sort of interesting since guns are very rare in Japan.
During its reveal at the World Character Summit in Hanyū, it appearly would jokingly point its gun at other mascots.
6 Melon Kuma
Out of Yubari City in Hokkaido, Melon Kuma was created due to the town being most known for its bears and melons. What makes this mascot weird though its instead of going for something more cute, the design is very fierce and savage looking. During mascots gatherings (which is a thing that happens), Melon Kuma is known to run around and attack other mascots.
"Melon Kuma suddenly changed into the fantastical creature that he is after eating some locally-grown melon," said the creator of the mascot, Ousai Wakasa. Apparently, he is not an official mascot but is still beloved by the people of Yubari City.
This mascot is a hoot. With the body of a wrestler and the face of a floor-plan Madori-kun is the mascot for a real estate agency, Sanpuku Real Estate. This may be the peak of bizarre and creative. However came up with the idea should be very proud.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about the mascot. If you look him up though, you can find a lot of funny images of him wrestling. As for why its a wrestler, we are not sure but it may be a pun that does not translate into English.
Gaijiro the kappa is similar to Melon Kuma in that it is utter nightmare fuel. It is from Fukusaki, Hyogo, and looks like the last mascot you would want to hug. Good luck trying to get your kid even near this thing for a photo.
There are cute kappa and then there is Gaijiro. However, if you read more about kappa then you may find they are actually pretty scary. They are known to assault humans and to take away a mythic organ from them. So if you ever visit Fukusaki, Hyogo, do not be surprised if you see this spooky kappa character around.
This is a mascot face that is hard to forget. It's hilarious and looks like it was straight out of the absurdist anime Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. Iyokanta is a mascot with the head of a tangerine. He is the mascot for the Ehime Football Club that is based in Matsuyama.
With a mascot who has such a jarring expression, people are bound to just stare at mascot instead of the football game. Food mascots may be very common in Japan, but Iyokanta is pretty special looking.
This character is pretty creepy looking with the body of a yellow cat and the face of a pasty old man. He is the mascot for Ota Productions. Mondo Mascots' twitter page (which we recommend following if you like this article), says that Oji-nyan likes to sing and dance for children. However, most of the replies to that fact consist of "No thanks" and "This is the most cursed mascot you have shown us so far" and "Who asked for this?"
So we definitely are not alone in thinking this mascot is very unnatural looking. Maybe Japan thinks otherwise though and see something that the foreigners don't.
1 Tsukihashi Wataru
This mascot is weird, but a little cute too. It was created for one of the most popular Japanese tourist destination, Arashiyama in Kyoto. The mascot is based on Togetsukyou Bridge, which is a famous Arashiyama location that has been around since the 9th century (though reconstructed in 1934).
So we got this sort of ghost creature with a bridge on its back. For the mascot to show off the bridge on its back, it sometimes walks on all-fours. However, his creators say to not cross the bridge on his back because it “would break not just the railing, but his heart as well.”