Last November, residents of Hokuto City in Hokkaido elected Zuuushiiihokkiii, the somewhat malformed anthropomorphic piece of surf clam sushi. His limited motor skills and cries of “Hokihokihokihokiii!” seemed to have plucked a particular heart-string among the locals.

Even beyond the northern city, this ball of rice and clam is shaping up to be Japan’s breakout yurukyara (regional mascot) of 2014. While development on the official Zuuushiiihokkiii costume is still underway, some exciting news has emerged from the new mascot’s PR team.

In a press release titled Please use Hokuto’s official mascot Zuuushiiihokkiii for freethe city announced that they will allow any individual in Japan to use the likeness of the yurukyara for any purpose they wish.

Businesses are also invited to make use of the googley-eyed foodstuff free of charge, but are required to fill out an application with the city official to do so. Perhaps this is to prevent the wholesome image of Zuuushiiihokkiii from being hijacked by businesses of ill-repute.

This announcement also brings a bevy of new illustrations of the upcoming mascot in a variety of poses. In the election profile last year, Zuuushiiihokkiii was described as a mysterious character who communicates in unintelligible gibberish. He also spontaneously loses the ability to walk on two legs from time to time. This unique characteristic looks to have survived the early design process, and it will be interesting to see if the actual costumed mascot will do the same thing.

Yes, the mood in the yurukyara world is electric as everyone eagerly awaits Zuuushiiihokkiii’s debut. Will he achieve the stardom of other kimokawaii (gross-yet-cute) characters such as Funasshi and Okazaemon? We’ll have to wait until March to find out.

Source: Hokuto City via Netlab (Japanese)

Illustrations of Zuuushiiihokkiii have been released in a wide range of poses such as standing.

Doing the Kid ‘n Play Kickstep

Identifying his wife’s murderer to the police only to then realize it was his own brother that did it

Praising Jesus, swimming, or playing badminton; that little sushi can do it all… except walk and speak properly