Do you know that every prefecture in Japan has a mascot?
That shows just how important mascots are in Japan.
The most famous prefectural mascot known to foreigners is probably Kumamon from the Kumamoto Prefecture. Locally in Japan, Kumamon also bagged the No.1 Most Popular Mascot in the year 2011.
In my hometown, it is quite rare to see mascots. So when I heard from my friend that there was a job opening for a short-term 3-day mascot work, I jumped at the opportunity. It was a mascot for a tissue company. I was supposed to walk around the supermarket, to promote their relatively new brand.
The mascot’s head was so big, it needs two people to support it, while the main person puts on the internal haversack like structure within the head. The shoes had hidden straps in it to secure the feet. There was a mini fan in the head for ventilation, but it really did nothing but ventilate the air inside. It was extremely warm and stuffy in there, but I expected as much.
I walked along, barely being able to see what was in front of me. My partner outside the mascot ensured that I didn’t crash into the products around me. On the first day, it was more of getting used to moving and being the mascot. But on the second day, I had quite a lot of fun. Since I could not see well, I just moved towards any structure that I thought looked human. It was fun to stand behind people and wait for them to notice me, or go up to the kids and chase them around. I even danced about inside it.
There was a young girl who came up to ask (my partner)
“Is she real?”
“Yes, she is.”
And the young girl actually tried to peek up my mascot’s dress!
But it amused me greatly and all was fine.
I felt closer to my idol Kumamon after running about for three days in a mascot.
It was very tiring – I could not even use my hands to wipe my perspiration- but also extremely fun.
Finally free from the mascot ↓
Yes, that’s what I wore inside it. Minimal clothing.