entertainment

CNN newscaster can’t stop laughing at crazy Japanese mascot

55 Comments
By Michelle Lynn Dinh

Japan has more than its fair share of ridiculous mascots, ranging from the absurdly muscled pot sticker, Chaozu-kun, to the snarky Yoshida-kun representing the country’s least popular prefecture.

But of all the crazy characters, our most favorite mascot to ever represent Japan has got to be Funnashi, the jiggly yellow pear. Just one look at his rotund head and undulating belly, coupled with his somewhat creepy high-pitched voice, and you’ve got something so hilariously bizarre, even a professional newscaster for CNN couldn’t keep it together on live TV.

CNN reporter Kristie Lu Stout was in the studio wrapping up a piece on mascots in Japan. Right before she was supposed to pick up where the Tokyo-based reporter left off, a clip of Funabashi City’s mascot, Funasshi, flashed across the screen.

So understandably, Kristie felt the need to laugh at the creature that could have only come from the minds of Japan. Take a look at the clip and see for yourself.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The Bubble Princess: Japan can’t help staring at this revealing character -- 10 car names Japanese bloggers think are funny to foreigners (and 8 that actually are!) -- Jiggly yellow pear, Funasshi, named top mascot in Japan

© RocketNews24

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55 Comments
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Lol, well she did control herself pretty good:), as opposed to this guy here :

http://youtu.be/n8GN7F1quCM

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It is truly woeful.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

I wonder how most people in Japan would react to seeing this video? I'm curious if they would be able to correctly judge which side of the 'laughing with you/at you' dichotomy this comes down on. Clearly it is the 'laughing at you' variety, but I wonder how many would incorrectly think she just really likes Funasshi?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I hate seeing the し hiragana romanized as 'syi'.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

our most favorite mascot to ever represent Japan

You mean 'favorite'.

And Funnashi doesn't represent Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Im probably the only and going out on a limb to say this, but I sincerely hate funashi. Its not funny and not cute. Even fukuppy is a better mascot.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I hate these mascots, they are all infantile.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Im probably the only and going out on a limb to say this, but I sincerely hate funashi. Its not funny and not cute. Even fukuppy is a better mascot.

Yeah I totally agree, not funny, not cute just gut wrenching hideous.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Taken from the words of greats Pee Wee Herman and Cheech Marin: That was so funny I forgot to laugh.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

look up the word "bandwagon" and you'll see a picture of japan. this country loves to follow whatever is the new trend, for better or for worse.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Evidently some people don't realize that Funashi is not a mascot. He's a parody of mascots. The hideousness is the joke.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It is a pretty woeful character. I'm artistically useless but I think my mother still has pictures I drew in nursery or infant school which are about as mature and well-drawn as the design of this character. Can someone tell me what the charm or humour is? It seems to have flown past my bat.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

About as funny as a gnat.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

this is why she was cracking up....the lead in story is a quasi-parody about the rather silly following all these mascots have in Japan. Watch this and you can understand why she was laughing so much. http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2014/06/10/japan-mascot-funassyi-next-hello-kitty.cnnmoney/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I often have difficulty containing myself when Kristie Lu Stout is on CNN.

I think she's stunning.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

These mascots are a damned plague! They are indeed infantile, but then there is so much that is infantile about Japan the last few decades, its embarrassing to see this stuff

And the one in this blurb is like akb48 annoying as hell & inescapable

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Oh come on folks! The mascots are just a bit of fun, mainly for kids right? They're supposed to be infantile otherwise children wouldn't be attracted to them. Why so serious? My favourite is Kuroshio-kun down here in Kochi. I always give him a high five when I'm lucky enough to meet him. Oh and Mr. Bloodaxe, thanks, your comment made me smile.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Dave, yep. Blame the old fogeys in the Education Ministry, I've sent them letters, telephoned them, even gone and tried to get a meeting, to no avail. Convinced a few schools to drop it though. Hurrah!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Has anybody else seen the 35 year-old lawyer who wants to marry Funassyi? Like, LITERALLY wants to marry him? Funassyi doesn't just attract the kids, it seems! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUxDEP2fLn4

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geez!! some people here do NOT understand anything about Japan and actually HATE Funashi?? Next, we will read about sour grapes complaining about Doraemon? Apanman? Ultraman?? Don't you all have any mascots in what ever country you all come from?? Do you hate and despise those mascots to?? Give poor Funasshi a break, imagine having to jump and scream etc..in that hot Funasshi suit and he is making $$$$!!! Oh, they seem INFANTILE?? WOW! Maybe that is because they are for KIDS!!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

He laugh looks fake...CNN sucks

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I love Funashi and Kumamon and the quite intricately contrived local mascot where I live. Wonder if all the mascot haters who decry them and the Japanese people to be infantile hold the same opinion about the mascot that show up at half-time during professional football games in the USA, etc. Or are they non-infantile because they are cavorting next to large breasted cheerleaders dressed in skimpy costumes?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Has anybody seen the promotion that CNN constantly plays showing a clip from her interview with Jimmy Wales?

She says this "Not only are you the founder of Wikipedia but you’re also a thinker. What are you thinking now?"

This really cracks me up and makes me laugh....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh, they seem INFANTILE?? WOW! Maybe that is because they are for KIDS!!

They may be aimed at kids, but you cannot open a magazine or book in this country without seeing cartoons drawn in the cutesy mascot-style littering the place.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Small minds... She's clearly never seen the packaging of foodstuffs in a Japanese supermarket - more mascot characters there than you can shake a stick at. She's probably laugh herself sick.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When I worked at Narita Airport I once lived in Funabashi and trust me, that mascot is perfectly matched to the town he represents.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The mascots are just a bit of fun, mainly for kids right?

No, not at all. They are mainly for adults - which is why a prison has one and many companies that have nothing to do with kids have them.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There is a U" song for many people in here .... Lemon....

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Once I saw on TV, 1 famous? commentator Lawyer is a die hard fan of funashi. She almost have all the collections of stuff toys and clothes same color of funashi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You people are so funny. Getting worked up over some harmless mascots. Solely aimed at kids or not, they make me laugh which is the whole point right?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

AsakuraC

If it was just kids stuff then few would be complaining because we would be inundated with the non-sense unless we went to Disney land or similar or turned on a KIDS program on tv etc

BUT NO these infantile critters are everywhere, clearly are NOT just kids stuff, THATS why it grates, its annoying as hell, IT IS INFANTILE, simple as that

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I really can't believe people get so worked up about what they see on Japanese TV. If you don't like it, ignore it. If you're sick of it then I think you watch too much TV. Let the kids, or whoever, enjoy it. Better than some guy in tights who thinks he's a bat or whatever.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

M3M3M3: "I wonder how most people in Japan would react to seeing this video?"

Probably as they usually do when criticized internationally (directly or just laughed at), quietly hide and pretend the CNN report did not exist, then even more quietly start eliminating some of the problem (in this case, mascots). Remember when Hard Gay was all the rage here until he thrust his crotch in the face of a foreign entertainer and she was horrified? Well, everyone was suddenly asking themselves, "What, he's not funny?" and finally when criticized saying, "You don't understand Japanese humor!" That's all that will happen here. If it gets picked up any more and ridiculed people will just say, "You don't understand Japanese humor".

DaveAllTogether: "I hate seeing the し hiragana romanized as 'syi'."

Yeah, me too, but that's Nippon-shiki for you, and useful to know if you want to be faster on a keyboard or cell phone when typing Japanese, and of course useful to avoid laughing when older people use it in Romaji and it makes no sense if you're not familiar. Hebon-shiki is the way to go, but the former still exists. You can shortcut 'syi' to make the same hiragana merely with 'si'.

Elbuda: "Next, we will read about sour grapes complaining about Doraemon? Apanman? Ultraman?? Don't you all have any mascots in what ever country you all come from??"

You need to look up the meaning of sour grapes, my friend. And while there are the occasional mascots for schools and marching bands, there is NOTHING like the mascots for everything under the sun here, and you definitely don't have cities like Osaka wanting more attention for their mascots than other cities' get.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This year when watching tv over New Year's, it seemed like Funasshi was popping up on every channel, every show, gah! I think mascots are better when they don't talk...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can shortcut 'syi' to make the same hiragana merely with 'si'.

That's even worse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They should have included more at the beginning, hard to see why she is laughing, when all the thing did was wave its hand.

Read "Wages of Guilt" by Buruma for an interesting take on manga and infintilization of Japanese culture. (Compares Germany and Japan post-WWii reconstruction and societal growth, very cool).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For those of you who prefer sophisticated mascots, try the NHL:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NHL_mascots

The defense rests. Come on, loosen up a little. Funashi is cute and funny in the grand scheme of things.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

smithinjapanJun. 18, 2014 - 10:14PM JST

M3M3M3: "I wonder how most people in Japan would react to seeing this video?"

Probably as they usually do when criticized internationally (directly or just laughed at), quietly hide and pretend the CNN report did not exist, then even more quietly start eliminating some of the problem (in this case, mascots).

@smith: Boy, you sure like to criticize Japanese people at every chance you get don't you? ...and btw, Mascots are a problem? And please don't tell me they're a "problem" because your tax money is being wasted, because they pay for themselves when other people (not you) buy their merchandise. Besides, a government body being internationally criticized for bad policy is one thing, but a harmless custom or culture that most Japanese people think is perfectly normal being internationally ridiculed (not criticized) is something I don't think any country in Asia would necessarily appreciate. So please stop painting "the Japanese" on one great big canvas and think that you are on a higher level or know how they all think. Many Japanese people (who are probably ones you don't hang around) could care less about mascots.

Remember when Hard Gay was all the rage here until he thrust his crotch in the face of a foreign entertainer and she was horrified? Well, everyone was suddenly asking themselves, "What, he's not funny?" and finally when criticized saying, "You don't understand Japanese humor!" That's all that will happen here. If it gets picked up any more and ridiculed people will just say, "You don't understand Japanese humor".

"You don't understand Japanese humor" seems to me like a perfectly reasonable rebuttal (as long as no one is being hurt), because if you don't think something is funny, then you obviously don't understand it. Just like how most Japanese people would probably not understand the humor in Monty Python, South Park, or Sit-coms. How should they have reacted then? "Oh, you're right, this should not be funny. We will change our comedy style to follow yours because you're telling us that it's not funny. We will study your comedy so that we can understand and appreciate it."

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yeah, Funnashi's pretty funny all right, and ebisen, thanks for that link - ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love how one mascot was followed by another, only to be followed by another and so on... Pretty much sums up Japan: creativity and most of all, originality, only reaches so far. For me, mascots symbolize the Japanese way of not dealing with real problems, putting the lid on. If a place is an armpit, they create a mascot, marketed on TV by daytime okayu-like easily digested crap, telling the drones what to like. The masses heed what they are told, an everybody start 'loving' whatever flavor is marketed that day. Real problems forgotten=problems solved.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Knox HarringtonJun. 19, 2014 - 07:58AM JST

For me, mascots symbolize the Japanese way of not dealing with real problems

What ever floats your boat man. For all we know, to some people, mascots might be something they look forward to; an escape from dealing with the real problems which they do face everyday.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Tahoochi mascot are for children, period!! don't try to use the cultural card, that doesn't work anymore.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The True: We're not talking about whale hunting or dolphin hunting here. You said it yourself: "mascots are for children." Are children not a part of culture? Anyways, I'm not trying to play any type of card here, all I'm saying is that we're talking about friggin mascots here. No one's being hurt. Why are people taking it so seriously like it's some sort of reflection on society?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ebisen that is from a Belgium comedy show so it doesn't count! The gif on rocketnews where funashi gets thrown around is hilarious!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Funashi is cute and funny in the grand scheme of things.

Not cute, not funny hence me not liking him.

Tax money IS wasted on these things. Not all sell millions of yen worth of crap.

Tahoochi, you're defending sexist, homophobic "comedy"? Really? Some humour should be done away with and Hard Gay was a fine example. These stupid characters aren't sexist, they aren't homophobic but they aren't cute, funny or needed. My "issue" with this all is rather than spend money on things needs (daycare), meetings, time and money are wasted on the character "wars". It says a lot about the governing bodies of this country when people are complaining that their character is not popular enough while ignore more serious issues.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

To those of you who live in Japan and don't like mascot charas... tough. You can't change Japanese culture to suit yourselves.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@tmarie

"Tax money IS wasted on these things. Not all sell millions of yen worth of crap."

I agree that in some cases that is true. However in the case of Funashi that is not correct. It's not apparent from the way the article is written, but although Funashi represents Funabashi he is not an official mascot of the city. No tax moneys have gone into this character, he took it upon himself to have a costume made and promote the city. Of course, as such, he, and not the city, has also been able to claim the proceeds from sales of merchandise, appearance fees, etc. But Funabashi has certainly gained a lot of free publicity as a result of his activities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarieJun. 19, 2014 - 03:04PM JST

These stupid characters aren't sexist, they aren't homophobic but they aren't cute, funny or needed. My "issue" with this all is rather than spend money on things needs (daycare), meetings, time and money are wasted on the character "wars".

If you cannot see what's beyond the surface, then you're really the same as some people who eat this crap up without understanding its intent. Why do you think they started the whole mascot thing? To raise funds. It's all the same whether you're lobbying, or raising taxes and fees, or getting people to buy merchandise. They're doing it to raise funds. Not to waste time and money. Now you are right with one thing: not all of them sell like hotcakes, however, again if you look beyond the surface, the actual cost of manufacturing mascot merchandise is trivial compared to the cost of fixing serious problems that you mention (ie. daycare).

I personally could care less about mascots or even Hard Gay myself, I just think they're harmless. You, and some others here obviously don't, so that's where we agree to disagree.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Funashi is awseome!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funasshi = Richard Simmons

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My "most favorite" Japanese mascot has to be Fukuppy

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Haha when Japan has mascots for everything it's considered creepy or lame, yet America having sports mascots is considered "ok" because it's Americas style and it's not "excessive".

How the f___ do you think Poor Africans or poorer undeveloped nations like Afghanistan see American mascots in those games? In the same stupid way Americans criticize the Japanese mascots.

Why does everything that doesn't for your world view have to be an ill informed superfluous decision? Your right to have an opinion and every god damn thing doesn't necessarily justify how you having a sour opinion and everything Japanese. It's boring and narrow minded, and arguably ethnocentric. If Japan has some parts that are narrow minded also, don't fight back with the same attitude.

Your feelings and emotions don't justify everything. Sometimes you may not like or see the value in something you've never experience before. Instead of writing it off like an animal only driven by instinct why not be a better human and let the logical part of your brain understand the chaotic variety in the world today.

Because truthfully, your opinions don't change anything, so why not see the value in things instead of always complaining, for your own damn sake

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What I really can't understand is the torrents of antagonistic feeling, or even hatred, brought about, evidently, by a "jiggly yellow pear." Nobody is killing your firstborn. It's a non-issue. What is wrong with you folks?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

yep it funny the first few times yo see them, but after about 200 viewing a week living here in Japan, all you feel like doing is using one of them as a punching bag.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Farmboy

I think it goes to the anger and frustration many have towards Japan's Incredible Vapidness of Being, which the cutsie-poopsie mascots represent.

Alex Carr in his great book Dogs and Demons has a wonderful chapter on all the mascots, and cartoons, and relates them to the infantilization of the Japanese Mind (Bong!) It is part of his larger thesis that Japan's aesthetic traditions have been eroded beyond repair, and laments it.

A very good book.

Regardless, you are correct. Whereas Japan has Pikachu and Fukupy, IOW a fetish with cute, the US is obsessed with violence: has WWF, Football and, most importantly, for way too many, guns.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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