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Everything You Need To Know About Japan's Mascot Craze

According to the Finance Ministry of Japan, the mascot craze is a waste of taxpayer money and the "yuruchara" should be decimated. WE MUST SAVE THE MASCOTS.

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In Japan, mascots aren't just for baseball games. They represent nearly every municipality and commercial brand, and in recent years, their numbers have been growing.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Many of these mascots, called "yuruchara," are facing extermination since Japan's Finance Ministry stated that most did not promote tourism and were a waste of taxpayer money.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Many of the mascots represent very obscure places and things. You wouldn't even guess half of them.

What even is that thing holding Carly Rae Jepsen's hand??? Some sort of royal egg? A superhero apple?
Koji Sasahara / AP

What even is that thing holding Carly Rae Jepsen's hand??? Some sort of royal egg? A superhero apple?

Can you guess what super-specific event Takamaru is the mascot for?

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Do you even know what industry Kutan is the mascot of?

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You'll never believe what the humanoid Katakkuri-chan represents.

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Some localities are coming up with creative ways to save their beloved mascots. In Rumoi, Hokkaido, eight local mascots were combined to create the megazord-like Ororon Robo Mebius.

Cute and cool.

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Most of these mascots may be unknown to you, but others are world-famous. You probably recognize the NHK World mascot, Domo.

Paul Morigi / AP Images for NHK WORLD TV

That's because in 2008, Domo was featured in ad campaigns for Target.

Gunma-chan is the mascot of the Gunma Prefecture. It won the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix, Japan's national mascot character contest, in 2014.

If you couldn't tell, Gunma-chan is a pony walking on its hind legs. In the video below, he provides a great example of what these mascots are supposed to do: encourage tourism.

View this video on YouTube

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But no yuruchara is cooler than Funassyi, the mascot for the city of Funabashi, Chiba.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

It's not a coincidence the words "fun ass" are in its name.

John Oliver's a big fan.

HBO
HBO
HBO

In 2013, Funassyi was voted best mascot and made $1.6 million in revenue for the city of Funabashi.

The genderless pear is famous enough to hold press conferences in Japan.

And record a single called "Funa Funa Funassyi."

View this video on YouTube

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Funassyi is such a big celebrity, it was even invited to New York Fashion Week this year.

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So hey, Japanese Finance Ministry, don't burst our bubble.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

We love these quirky half-human/half-fruit/half-flower/half-animal hybrids.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

If Dagaya Kun the half-fish doesn't convince us to go to Nagoya city, Aichi prefecture, I don't know what will.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Seriously. I would follow Sanasenabona over a cliff if they asked me to.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

PLEASE SAVE THEM ALL. THEY ARE SO WEIRD AND ADORABLE!

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

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