Funassyi

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Funassyi (ふなっしー, Funasshī) is a Japanese mascot character, unofficially representing the city of Funabashi, Chiba. It was created by a citizen of Funabashi with the objective of cheering up local residents and to help promote its hometown. It has subsequently appeared at events and festivals, as well as on numerous TV programs and commercials, gaining popularity around Japan. It has also issued 4 CD albums and 6 singles, DVDs, starred in its own anime series and live action drama special, headlined its own concert at Budokan and opened its own character goods store. While it remains an unofficial character,[1] Funassyi is used frequently in official events for Chiba prefecture, the city of Funabashi and Japan itself due to its popularity and high name recognition.

Profile[edit]

Funassyi is neither a boy nor a girl, but a pear (, nashi) fairy. Its parents are ordinary pear trees.[2] Funassyi is the fourth of their 274 children.[3] Its birthday is July 4, and it is 1,880 years old as of 2018 (in a literal time frame, it was possibly born in the year AD 138). Its full name is Funadius IV (フナディウス4世, Funadiusu Yonsei),[3] and its favorite food is peaches.[3] The character is fond of heavy metal music, revealing that it bought Deep Purple's Machine Head as its first album, and is also fond of Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne.

Behavior[edit]

Generally, Japanese local mascot characters, known as Yuru-kyara (ゆるキャラ, laid-back character) or gotōchi-kyara (ご当地キャラ, local character), move slowly and do not speak. Instead, they are usually accompanied by an attendant who speaks for them. Funassyi, however, always speaks for itself. It also often shrieks, jumps, dances and makes violent movements like headbanging. When it speaks, it usually ends its sentences with "nassyi" (~なっしー, ~nasshī) which sounds like the Japanese word for "pear" (, nashi).

The number 274 appears in a lot of Funassyi's material (e.g. as the number of siblings, on license plates, as a house number, as a team jersey number). Under the rules of Japanese number puns, one possible reading of this number is "fu-na-shi".

History[edit]

The character was first created by a Funabashi citizen who carry on retailtrade in November 2011,just as a plane sketch to advertise his retail trading.[4] A Twitter account also was opened for it on November 21.[5] At first, the creator didn't intend to make Funassyi substantialize, however, the number of followers on Twitter increased more than he expected and Funassyi became popular. Then he decided to make suit (kigurumi, in Japanese) of Funassyi. On April 7, 2012, it started uploading videos on YouTube.[6]

In July 2012,Funassyi visited the Funabashi City Office to have it authorized and supported officially, but this was rejected.[7] On October 30, 2013, Funassyi was awarded a certificate for its contributions in promoting Funabashi all over Japan. However, the Funabashi Municipal Government, with the mutual consent of Funassyi, did not formally approve Funassyi as an official mascot of the city, since doing so may restrict Funassyi's activities.[7]

On November 27, 2013, Funassyi released its first CD single, "Funa Funa Funassyi♪" (「ふな ふな ふなっしー♪」) collaborating with Toshihiko "Takamiy" Takamizawa of The Alfee, on the Far Eastern Tribe Records label.

In June 2014, Funassyi was interviewed by CNN.[8] In August 2014, Funassyi was taught how to pitch by Billy the Marlin, the official mascot of the American Miami Marlins baseball team.[9]

On December 17, 2014, Funassyi released a full CD Album, "Uki Uki Funassyi♪ Official Funassyi Album Pear Juice Bushaa!" (「うき うき ふなっしー♪ 〜ふなっしー公式アルバム梨汁ブシャー!〜」) on Universal Music Japan's Universal Sigma label.[10]

On March 5, 2015, Funassyi held a press conference for the overseas media at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.[11][12]

On March 6, 2015 Funassyi opened its flagship store, Funassyiland, in the Lalaport Tokyo Bay shopping center in its hometown, Funabashi.[13] A 2nd Funassyiland store opened in Umeda, Osaka in July 2015, and a 3rd store named Funassyiland Select opened in December 2015 in Harajuku, Tokyo inside the Kiddy Land store. A 4th store opened in April 2016 in Nagoya. [14] An online Funassyiland store opened in November 2015. [15]

From March to September 2015, an animated version of Funassyi starred in its own short-anime series, "Funassyi's Funafunafu Days" (「ふなっしーのふなふなふな日和」), which aired every weekday during the Sukkiri! morning news and variety show on Nippon TV. The series has been released on DVD.

On January 7, 2016, a life-action 2 hour drama starring Funassyi titled "Detective Funassyi" (「ふなっしー探偵]) aired on Fuji TV. [16]

On August 23, 2016, Funassyi headlined a concert called Nassyi Fes at Budokan in Tokyo, drawing 12,000 fans. Nassyi Fes was also held on the 29th of the same month at Osaka-jō Hall in Osaka. [17]

Offshoot characters and imitations[edit]

Funassyi's "brother" Funagoro (ふなごろー, Funagorō), was introduced on October 15, 2014.[18] Funagoro is the 56th brother of Funassyi. Funagoro is half-pear, half-caterpillar. The major difference between Funagoro and Funassyi is that Funagoro has a caterpillar tail that squirts silk thread.[18] When Funagoro speaks, it usually ends the sentences with "nappi" (なっぴー).

Funassyi appears on the Tamagotchi 4U officially released by Bandai as a promotional touch spot character named "Funassyitchi". Along with the character, the package also includes a golden pear and an electric guitar.

A number of characters "inspired" by Funassyi, some sanctioned and some not, have appeared on the past. Sanctioned characters include Funyassyi, created to promote the Shironeko Project game, and Akanassyi, a red version of the usually yellow Funassyi character that was created to promote a Gundam movie in 2015.

As of 2016, Funagoro and Funyassyi appear frequently at Funassyiland stores and other events, with or without Funassyi.

Speculation regarding income and revenue generated by the character[edit]

There has been frequent speculation in the Japanese media regarding Funassyi's personal income, as well as the revenue he helps to generate for the city of Funabashi and Chiba prefecture.[19] However, due to its unofficial status, it is a private enterprise and is not required to disclose any such figures. Funassyi has given various off-the-cuff answers to the question of how much it earns over the years, ranging from "274 yen per hour" to "1000 pears per hour".[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "千葉県のご当地キャラクター ~チーバくんとお友達を紹介します!~ >:ちばの観光 まるごと紹介". Kanko.chuo.chiba.jp. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  2. ^ "ふなっしー劇場 - terawarosu Jimdoページ". Terawarosu.jimdo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  3. ^ a b c "ふなっしー「産経新聞破るくらい梨汁ブシャー!とひたしたいなっしー」 過激発言で今年も幕開け?+(2/2ページ) - MSN産経ニュース". Sankei.jp.msn.com. 2014-01-02. Archived from the original on 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  4. ^ "不気味さ受け想定外の人気 船橋市の"非公認"キャラ 梨の妖精「ふなっしー」 | ちばとぴ ちばの耳より情報満載 千葉日報ウェブ". Chibanippo.co.jp. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  5. ^ "ふなっしーの軌跡". Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "千葉県 船橋市 ふなっしー 桜の木の下で". YouTube. 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  7. ^ a b "船橋市市長 ふなっしーの貢献に感謝状贈るも「公認はしない」|NEWSポストセブン". News-postseven.com. 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  8. ^ Ripley, Will (2014-06-10). "Mascot mania means big bucks in Japan". CNN. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  9. ^ McCormick, Rich (2014-08-14). "Giant American fish teaches Japanese pear how to play baseball". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  10. ^ "Official Funassyi artist page on Universal Music Japan".
  11. ^ Jackman, Sophie (2015-03-05). "Persevering pear mascot 'Funassyi' hopes to be positive symbol of Japan". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  12. ^ a b Landers, Peter (2015-03-05). "'Pear Fairy' Funassyi Shakes Up Japanese Character World". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  13. ^ Yoneyama, Shiro (2015-03-06). "Popular mascot Funassyi opens own shop in Chiba hometown". Mainichi Daily News. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  14. ^ "ふなっしーLAND船橋本店 リニューアルオープン後の来店者数 2万7400人達成なっしー!!". PR Times. 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  15. ^ "キデイランド原宿に公式グッズ店「ふなっしーランド」 船橋・梅田に次ぐ常設店". Shibuya Keizai Shimbun. 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  16. ^ "ふなっしー探偵 - フジテレビ - official program site". Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  17. ^ "ふなっしー、初単独武道館に1万2000人「感謝感激梨汁ブシャー!」". Oricon. 2016-08-24. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  18. ^ a b "Funnassyi_has_a_brother". japantrends.com. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  19. ^ Brasor, Philip (2014-04-15). "Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-04-20.

External links[edit]