Have you heard of Funasshi? In the past few years, there has been a “yurukyara” (mascot) boom in Japan.
Cities and prefectures around the country scrambled to make their own characters. They came up with mascots from the very cute Fukka-chan from Fukaya City in Saitama, to the slightly creepy Lerch-san from Niigata Prefecture.
But one of the most popular mascots in Japan isn’t even an official one.
The Unusual Mascot Funasshi
Funasshi, the unofficial mascot of Funabashi City in Chiba Prefecture, is far from your normal “yurukyara.” In a way, though, he’s the very embodiment of a “yurui character.” The word “yurukyara” implies a mascot created by a someone who is not a professional designer.
With his lopsided eyes and energetic demeanor, Funasshi captured the heart of Japan. Before then, Japan had been used to their yurukyara being cute and silent.
In 2011, a mysterious Twitter account under Funasshi’s name showed up on the internet. The Twitter account was soon followed by YouTube videos. From there, his fame spread.
He even has his own theme song now!
Funasshi: Japan’s Pear Fairy Mascot?
So what exactly IS Funasshi?
According to his official website, Funasshi is a pear fairy. He seems rather large for a fairy. The “pear” part, however, is simple: Funabashi City, the city he unofficially represents, is known for its pears. In fact, this year the Funabashi pear harvest was so huge that they had trouble selling all of the pears. Thanks to this unusual pear fairy, though, they were able to sell 100,000,000 yen in pears.
Despite the city’s gratefulness to Funasshi, he still remains an unofficial character. Part of the reason may be because of his penchant for outrageous lies. According to Funasshi himself, about 27.4% of his utterances are lies. Pretty impressive for a pear. He particularly lies to spin tales about his appearance (no pun intended). At one event, he said the red spot on his stomach was “the blood of his enemies.” At another, he stated that the spot was simply a “resting moth.”
Along with his outrageous statements, he also tacks on the word “nasshi” (“pear”) to the end of all his sentences and has Funasshi souvenirs for sale throughout Japan.
I’m not sure what other ridiculous ideas the person behind Funasshi has up his sleeve, but I look forward to his continued silliness.
Meeting Fukaya’s Mascot, Fukkachan
Azuchan, Mascot of Tokyo’s Azumabashi