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Kumamon (くまモン?) is a mascot created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It was created in 2010 for a campaign called to draw tourists to the region after the Kyushu Shinkansen line opened.[1] Kumamon subsequently became nationally popular, and in late 2011, was voted top in a nationwide survey of mascots, collectively known as yuru-chara, garnering over 280,000 votes.[2][3] Following his success in the contest, Kumamoto earned ¥11.8 billion (US$120 million, GB£79 million, €93 million) in merchandising revenue for the first half of 2012, after having only earned ¥2.5 billion (US$26 million, GB£17 million, €20 million) throughout all of 2011.[4][5]

The Bank of Japan estimates that in the two years prior to 2014, Kumamon generated ¥123.2 billion in revenue.[6][7]

The success of Kumamon can also be explained by the fact that Kumamoto Prefecture is selecting the products using Kumamon but is not charging any copyrights for the use of the character.[8]

Exterior of a Kumamon-themed Hisatsu Orange Railway train, November 2012

This mascot has a minor cameo in the 2014 video game Yo-Kai Watch 2, and made an appearance in Yo-kai Watch: The Movie following Whisper, Nate, and Jibanyan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top Ten Japanese Character Mascots". Finding Fukuoka. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  2. ^ "Japan's #1 Mascots: Kumamon, Bary-san, and Nishiko-kun". Japan Probe. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Kumamoto Mascot "Kuma-mon" Won First Prize | Tenkai-japan:Cool Japan Guide-Travel, Shopping, Fashion, J-pop". Tenkai-japan. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  4. ^ Brasor, Philip (2013-01-13). "Mascots bear cash for local authorities". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  5. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (2012-12-25). "Isn't That Cute? In Japan, Cuddly Characters Compete - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  6. ^ "Mute bear caricature gives press conference - Latest - New Straits Times". Nst.com.my. 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  7. ^ Brasor, Philip (2014-04-15). "Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  8. ^ Fuji, Moeko (Jun 28, 2013). "The Branding of Kumamon: The Bear That Stole Japan’s Heart". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 

External links[edit]