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Osaka International Airport has a deceptively confusing name. First, although its mailing address is indeed in Osaka, a large portion of the facility actually spills over the border into neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, specifically the city of Itami.

Second, it only has domestic flights, as during the 1990s the overseas traffic was moved to Kansai International Airport, an international airport that’s entirely in Osaka (yet completely separate from Osaka International Airport).

But even if it’s hard to find a shred of logic to the naming of Osaka International Airport, the domestic hub can now fall back on the good looks of its new mascot, the undeniably cute, possibly worrying Sora-yan.

This year marks the 75-year anniversary of the founding of Osaka International , which bears the code ITM.

▼ Giving it the confusing name hat trick

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To celebrate, the facility’s operators have created a new mascot, with 1,904 people sending in suggestions for the character’s name during January and February. In the end, Sora-yan, a combination of sora, the Japanese word for “sky,” and yan, a word used to show emphasis in the Osaka dialect, was chosen as the winner.

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According to Sora-yan’s official profile, she lives in Osaka International’s La Sora Deck terrace and entertainment complex, and her job is to bring smiles to the facility’s visitors. Sora-yan has an interest in fashion, with a collection of snappy silk scarves of the type flight attendants in Japan wear, and enjoys going for walks in and around the airport.

▼ This is a little weird, since Sora-yan, being a plane, should be able to fly, but maybe this is part of an effort to reduce Osaka International Airport’s carbon footprint or something.

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The easygoing Sora-yan doesn’t feel any sense of rivalry with Kansai International’s mascot Kan-kun, either. The two are scheduled to make appearances together in order to jointly promote the region’s two major airports.

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We can also assume that a full-line up of Sora-yan merchandise is coming, given the overwhelmingly positive reaction she’s been getting from Japanese Internet commenters.

“She’s cute!!!”
“Looking at her, you can just feel all your negativity melting away.”
“I’m trembling from all the cuteness.”
“Sora-yan would make an awesome costume.”
“That listless expression is just too much.”
“So lethargic.”

We agree, Sora-yan does look extremely kind-hearted and laid-back. But….might she be just a little too relaxed? The only real difference between “listless and lethargic” versus “uninterested and lazy” are a couple of Scrabble points, and we’re not sure those last two are the sort of adjectives that we like to associate with our air travel providers.

Sora-yan’s “anime drunk” red cheeks aren’t doing much to help, either.

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Actually, if Sora-yan’s rosy complexion is indeed the result of heavy drinking, it would go a long way in explaining her sleepy expression and conscientious choice to walk everywhere instead of dangerously operating a motor vehicle.

Still, there’s no arguing that Osaka International’s mascot has an infectious smile, and so long as they keep her out of the cockpit, we think Sora-yan’s got a successful career ahead of her.

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Sources: Twitter, Osaka International Airport, New Kansai International Airport Company
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: Conton, Twitter, Osaka International Airport, Anime Vice/Twitter (edited by RocketNews24)
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