Japanese mascots, known as yuru-kyara ( ゆるキャラ ), are cute and quirky characters that are popular throughout Japan! Mascots are a lot like us; they come in all sorts of sizes and colors, have ages and genders, likes and dislikes, and even hometowns that they love very much! Many mascots also have ridiculous talents, such as being able to speak every language on Earth, or being a 0-year old fairy baby!
Official and unofficial mascots exist for all sorts of things in Japan, from brands and businesses, to events and activities, and even places; with the most popular mascots being treated like celebrities!
Similar to robots, there are 3 laws that mascot characters must follow in order to exist:
#1: The mascot must convey a message of love for something.
#2: The character's movements or behavior must be unique, in that they are unstable or awkward.
#3: The character should be laid-back (the yuru in yuru-kyara) and lovable.
Are you surprised? We hope so! Mascots are full of wonderful surprises and they are here to spread joy and happiness... a job which they take very seriously! Mascot characters can also exist to spread awareness about whatever it is they represent. They often do so by incorporate certain motifs into their design, such as local customs or unique patterns.
When mascot characters make an appearance in public, it is known as kigurumi (きぐりみ), and they can often be found attending events and festivals. If you ever see a mascot character out and about, we strongly encourage you to interact with them --they will always friendly because they are already your friend! However, should you encounter a mascot in the wild please report it to someone, as they are most likely lost.
NIMIN, FROM NIIMI CITY
Nimin (にーみん) is a baby Chiyaushi cow and the official mascot of Niimi City, Okayama Prefecture. Rumored to have been born from a grape, Nimin is a fluffy purple cow with a Pione leaf on his head, and a fuzzy patch on his stomach in the shape of a peach. He is beloved by the citizens of Niimi for his friendly personality, and can often be found touring the city and its surrounding vineyards.
Known for being both curious and a rabid gourmand, Niimin's favorite past time is foraging for tasty food in the local countryside. His goal in life is to bring happiness to the people of Niimi City, and to become delicious Chiyagyu beef.
-出身地 Birthplace: Niimi City's Pione vineyard
- 誕生日 Birthday: February 13th, pronounced Ni-I-Mi (に・い・み) in Japanese
- 年齢 Age: Secret
- 友達 Best Friends: Piorin, Mansa-kun, and Chimo-kun, who come from neighboring cities!
-ウワサ Rumor: It is said that Nimin's nose ring is actually a pacifier.