Photo by Norio.NAKAYAMA
Do you know, there is a famous character in Japan- who might become a rival of Mickey Mouse?
This is him. He is Kumamon, a character from Kumamoto prefecture in Kyushu, Japan.
Recently, each prefecture is trying to have more tourists coming to them-they are trying to attract people with regional goodies or local dishes and these Yuru Chara(mascot characters like Kumamon, who have been created for PR purpose of each prefecture) is taking a big part!
Kumamoto prefecture is in far south in Japan.
Kumamon was born in 2010, and since then, Kumamoto has been collecting a lot of attention.
There are enthusiastic fans of Kumamon and they follow this mascot. When Kumamon comes to an event in department stores, a lot of people comes and always becomes successful. Kumamon gets all kinds of invitations including weddings.
Thousands of Kumamon goods are produced and more and more are coming. The economic effect by Kumamon is said to be more than 10 billion yen so far.
Among other local mascot characters, Kumamon is a runaway leader.
Photo by zxhong2web
There seem some reasons:
(1) Kumamon has been created by proressional desighners. He is a work of professionals while other characters are usually made by public offering of citizens.
(2) They used Twitter wisely to become a hot topic.
(3) Top people of Kumamoto had open mind. The governor of Kumamoto always says `break dishes' which means, `do not be afraid of making mistakes'. Local goverment tend to be very conservative and are not eager to try new things but he kept supporting this character project to be seen everywhere.
(4)The governor made the right of the trademark `free'. Any one can apply and if they are accepted, they can make Kumamon goods! The goods should contribute to the advancement of Kumamoto(increasing tourists or selling of local goodies).
With those effective steps, Kumamon is now an established No.1 character.
Someday, we may be able to see Kumamon and Mickey Mouse on the same stage!
Photo by Christian Kaden