Sep 27, 2013

Yuru-kyara "Funassy" is sweeping the country

Hi everyone.

About half year ago I wrote about Kumamon, a yurukyara (local mascot) of Kumamoto Prefecture. The cute bear character is still popular, but it does not appear in the media as often as before.

Yes, Japanese are so fickle and we have found a new mascot that enthuses us. So, who took the place of Kumamon, the champion of Yuru-kyara Grand Prix 2012?

It is ふなっしー(Funassy), a pear-shaped unofficial  mascot of Funabashi City (Chiba Prefecture) ! He (she? it?) won the ご当地キャラ総選挙2013(Gotochi kyara sosenkyo 2013),  a local mascot competition sponsored by the Japan Department Store Association. 

That's Fnassy. He calls himself a "fairy of pear"and his name is made up of Funabashi City and nashi (梨、pear in Japanese), the city's special products; however, he is not authorized by the city as its official mascot, despite his tremendous popularity.

When he first appeared in the media, many people, including myself, found him bizarre rather than cute, because he was too far from the common image of yuru-kyara.
In general, the yuru-kyara mascots don't talk at all, and move relatively slowly and in a lovely manner, while Funssy restlessly jumps up and down, screaming in a high-pitched male voice, and talks... "a lot."

When he began to appear on TV as one of the yurukyaras, many people were surprised at this unexpected character setting. I still remember several TV show hosts said in astonishment -- "Do you talk?"

Actually, he has a good sense of humor and makes people laugh, which grabbed people's heart and made him popular rapidly, although the he is a bit too unsophisticated in design.

Check him out on Youtube below.  This is the promotion video of his fist DVD released in July by Pony Canyon, a major music and image software company. I heard it was successful in sales. What a surprise...

Not only this DVD, but also other products using his image, such as mugs, pillows, towels, stuffed toys, etc. are currently available at stores and on internet.

As I mentioned before, however, Funabashi City has no intention of authorizing him as its official character. I was wondering why and one day I happened to find an article on this matter. According to the article, a spokesperson of the city government explained that Funassy was a character created by an individual, not officially chosen by public; and that pear production is not only thing Funabashi can be proud of.

Umm... Funabashi municipal government seems dislike Funassy for some reason. Recently they created an official yurukyara, going through a proper procedure. See the image below. That's him, Funaemon!! Looks like a good boy, but he is not as appealing as Funassy. What do you think? 



ゆるキャラ                         local muscot
一番(いちばん)        No. 1
人気(にんき)            popular
熊本県(くまもとけん)     Kumamoto Prefecture
今(いま)            now
船橋市(ふなばしし)            Funabashi City


市(し)              city
特産(とくさん)         specialty
梨(なし)             pear
妖精(ようせい)         fairy
多くの(おおくの)        many
可愛らしい(かわいらしい)  cute
動き(うごき)          motion
~に対して(たいして)     while
甲高い(かんだかい)      high-pitched
声(こえ)             voice
叫ぶ(さけぶ)          scream
せわしなく            restlessly
跳び回る(とびまわる)     jump around


驚き(おどろき)         surprise
しゃべる             talk
それに              in addition


~らしくない           not like
キャラ(キャラクター)      character
うける               be accepted
今年(ことし)           this year
ご当地(ごとうち)        local
総選挙(そうせんきょ)     general election
優勝(ゆうしょう)         get the first prize


それに               moreover
発売(はつばい)される     be released


正式(せいしき)に        officially
認める(みとめる)        admit


ちなみに              by the way
公認(こうにん)          officially authorized
船えもん(ふなえもん)      name of a yuru-kyara


  1. 優子さん、こんにちは!お元気ですか?(^ワ^)

    Hehe, I think Funassy looks amusing & cute at the same time. :D He seems to be always staring into space, thinking happily about something~

    Funaemon... looks like something the government would like! Not so much appealing to the rest of the population, haha... but nice smile anyways. :D

    Over here we don't really have mascots, and they're mostly to do with sports teams anyway. ^^;; But every year, there's a big footy competition between two states: Queensland and New South Wales.

    We (Queensland) have the Cane Toad as our mascot, whilst NSW has a cockroach... -___- Nowhere near as appealing as the Kumamoto mascots, but they're mainly just for laughs~~ (because both are pests in Australia)

    I guess it's more suited to Aussie blokes who like footy! xD

    1. * I forgot to mention, "bloke" is Australian slang for a guy/man. ^_^