Tottori City’s starving mascot makes waves and suddenly disappears


From December of last year until February, Tottori City held an open call for mascot ideas for a character to represent the Tottori Castle ruins. The ruins were named one of Japan’s 100 notable castles and have enjoyed an influx of tourists.

The mascot idea which came in second place was Katsue-san, the starving farm girl. When the announcement of Kazue hit, the Internet lit up with excitement. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the Tottori City website soon after.

The character of Katsue-san is a reference to a historical event during the warring states period. Under orders of Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi Hashiba (later Toyotomi) was sent to take over Tottori Castle. The long siege was eventually ended when Hideyoshi starved those inside the castle to the point of surrender.

Katuse-san seems to have been one of the peasants from outside the castle who was driven inside by Hideyoshi to force his opponents to go through their supplies more quickly. Although her sunken face suggests an old woman, we can see her youthfulness through her posture and the way her clothes fit.

She stands clutching a frog and stares at it through half-dead eyes willing herself to eat it lest she have to taste the flesh of fallen soldiers (as some of her fellow castle residents were forced to do according to some historical records). With skin as dim as her chance of continuing her life of constant pain until tomorrow, this innocent young woman’s life was ruined – a pawn in a game between tyrannical warlords.

The first place winner was Torinojyo (photo below), with his bright smile framed by a handlebar moustache and waving his fan under a steady rain of confetti.

At first it seemed as if Torinojyo and Katsue-san would join forces in celebrating Tottori Castle. However, after news of Katsue-san took the web by storm, all mention of her seemed to have disappeared from the Tottori website.

Sources: Goo News, Kinisoku, Naver Matome, Tottori City

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Travelers rank Japan’s 20 best castles -- Tottori Prefecture kicking ass and taking names… with a petition to see a six-month-old movie -- Tully’s Coffee checks off every last prefecture, set to open store in oft-forgotten Tottori Prefecture

© RocketNews24

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I find the idea of mascots for a city rather puerile for the most part . . . .On top of that, this one for Tottori is tragic. . .Why would a city want to use such a pitiful symbol ? !

1 ( +6 / -4 )

I prefer katsue san to the other one!!!!!! I think mascots are great and all, but would it not be wonderful if they could actually teach visitors at the same time?

I have been to tottori many times, and to the ruins. BUT definitely I wont forget the story of those starved inside, after hearing (and seeing) the rather creepy katsue san.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A starving mascot would defy the concept of a mascot. Unless you were to somehow trivialize or cherish her sufferage

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I wish Katsue-san had won. She would have been a mascot with depth and historical meaning. I find her story fascinating. The cutesy, cutesy thing in Japan makes me wretch must of the time. Too bad that won out yet again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Horrible story. But if you were genuinely starving, I bet a frog would look pretty tasty....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A frog is pretty tasty.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Frogs legs cooked with garlic and served with champagne are delicious !

Didn't we recently read that they are actually trying to get rid of most of the mascots ? Seems rather contradictory that they're trying to make a new one now.

Tottori is a beautiful place and riding a horse in the "Sakyu" (desert) is fun !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An interesting pespective, Hideyoshi has many victims from not just around Japan but also Korea. I wonder what all those places have to offer as mascot ideas.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A starving girl for a mascot is kinda strange. A mascot should be something cheerful that promotes a positive image.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tottori is my hometown and I really love there. Though it seems necessary to show the reality once we had, but I should say I don't like her. All I need for these mascots is positive images.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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