Every once in a while we report on the bustling mascot business in Japan, especially regarding the regional cute mascots known as yuru-kyara. Often these characters are chosen to represent a city, prefecture or even neighborhood by way of election.

This was also the case in Hokkaido’s Hokuto City as they took votes for their new representative character. Thousands of citizens cast their votes for whom they felt best represented Hokuto life and culture, ultimately choosing… that thing above.

Voting took place over the first two weeks of November where the people of Hokuto could select their favorite from a list of five candidates.

Taking all of these characters at face-value it would seem the pudgy little tomato monster Hokubo was the odds-on favorite with his carefree attitude and rustic charm. All of the others seemed to bring extra baggage to the role of mascot.

However, when all the votes were tallied…

The malformed piece of sushi topped with surf clam, Hokkiiiizuuushiii (AKA Zuuushiiihokkiiii) was crowned the winner. There must have been something about the way it said “Hokihokihokihokiiii!”…

In the headline, I referred to it as a developmentally challenged sushi, but after thinking it over, Hokkiiiizuuushiii operates at a pretty high level for a piece of fish on rice. In fact it’s probably the most evolved piece of seafood around even despite regressing to four-legged movement at times.

It could also be another case of the kimokawaii (gross-but-cute) fad with Japanese mascots leading to the breakthrough success of Funasshi and Okazaemon.

Another possibility is Hokkiiiizuuushiii’s resemblance to the Japanese internet meme Homo. Homo serves as an unofficial mascot of the fujoshi (female fans of homoerotic fiction).

Whatever it was about this foodstuff that captured the hearts of Hokuto City isn’t clear, but it is on its way to public events at home and in other parts of the country. The costume is currently in development and should be ready for active service next March! That’s a sight we’re definitely not going to miss!

Source: City of Hokuto, Hoctory via My Game News Flash (Japanese)

In other yuru-kyara news, we’d like to congratulate Sanomaru on winning the national 2013 Yurukyara Gran Prix!

[ Read in Japanese ]