Japan's most famous prefectural mascot character, Kumamon, who represents Kumamoto, has broken records in the last two years by generating over 124.4 billion yen in revenue, according to the Bank of Japan.
Kumamon, originally created in 2010 by Kumamoto Prefecture's department of tourism, gained national recognition in the 2011 Japanese Mascot Grand Prix, when it was voted #1 in a popularity poll.
Since then, Kumamon has generated both a large amount of merchandise revenue, and an unprecedented influx in tourist activity throughout Kuamamoto Prefecture, officials say.
The Bank of Japan report marks the first time ever that a prefectural mascot has been recognized for both its economic success and its contributions to an area.
Kumamon’s promotional team receives around 400 applications a month put the character’s image on various Kumamoto products, TV Asahi reported. Kumamon currently appears on around 8,200 items, including foodstuffs, accessories and ornaments.
In November, Kumamon accompanied Kumamoto Prefecture Gov Ikuo Kabashima on a visit to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, and in October, Kumamon met the emperor and empress.© Japan Today