Monday, November 5, 2012

In Praise of Weak Characters

Writing in the Japan Times, columnist Philip Brasor notes, "Japan is overrun with cute mascots. They represent everything from chain stores to police departments, and for the past decade or so there has been a marked increase in the popularity of one species of mascot called "yuru-kyara." The second half of this word stands for "character," while "yuru" is from the adjective "yurui," which means "light" or "weak," though in this case the nuance is that of being unserious, unfinished, unimportant... The point is that they aren't skillfully executed. In fact, the amateurish nature of their concept and design is their main appeal."

Here in this Youtube video some of Japan's meekest mascots take on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" in perhaps the weakest iteration of the Internet meme.*

*At least I think that's what it is (It's hard to tell if they're lip dubbing or not since their mouths are for the most part two-dimensional fabric patches sewn or glued to their heads).

Related post: Let's Michael Everyone


Via The Japan Times: Mascot Bird Warns Kids of Radiation


  1. Yuru-kyara--these local, easy-going characters--are all made by taxes, I'm told. Local bureaucrats, usually in the countryside, are thus able to promote local businesses. In short, its politics. The video clip did get me wondering--about a pro sumo iteration of the Jepsen meme...

    1. I can't see these cute little characters getting mixed up in anything as sordid as politics but I guess when you consider the characters who are elected to office it's not so hard to imagine.