Sunday, April 20, 2008

Even if you're not cute, you can make big yen in Japan...

(Image borrowed from Guesthouse Yougendo)

In 2010, Japan will celebrate the 1,300th Anniversary of the Nara Heijo-kyo capital. And what is the best way to do this? Create a cute mascot, of course. But the mascot for this important celebration has committed the ultimate sin in the land of Hello Kitty and Ebi-chan, he isn't cute... With all the controversy of Sento-kun not being cute (where did they go wrong with a little boy Buddhist monk with deer antlers?), he has become quite famous and gained commercial notoriety. According to The Daily Yomiuri, the coverage of his unpopularity has given him a commercial value of 1.5 billion yen. The article concludes by noting the mascot made much less than the new governor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto. Does this mean the governor is cuter that Sento-kun?

Read the whole story at The Daily Yomiuri On-line:

Link to Unpopular mascot scores 1.5 bil. yen in publicity

Here are some more links for stories about Sento-kun and how unpopular he is...

Link to "Horny" mascot for ancient Nara capital named "Sento-kun"

Link to Mascot of Nara at Guesthouse Yougendo:

Link to New Mascot for Nara Heijo-kyo Anniversary at Tokyomango:

Are we really sure he is not so cute? Or maybe he is growing on us? Some people seem to be having fun with him at YouTube:

Who is to say who or what is cute? Is cuteness static or subject to semiosis? Is Sento-kun pushing the envelope? Is he really such a bad mascot? How would you create a symbol of Nara to celebrate the ancient capital?
(Image borrowed from Mainichi Daily News)

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