Japanese sports in general place an emphasis on discipline, sportsmanship, and respect for the game. Even though baseball was imported in fairly modern times from America, these traditional values are still in full play, as showboating and taunting on the diamond are frowned upon as much as they are in the sumo ring.

Normally, these high standards of conduct extend to everyone in the ball park, players, fans, and stadium employees included. One recent game, though, saw an odd bit of violence between opposing mascots, including a boot to the face and baseball remix of a gangland-style execution.

In Japanese marketing, the common logic is that you can never have too many cute characters endorsing your product or organization. So when the professional baseball season started in April, fans at Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks games noticed the team had a new mascot hanging about.

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Named Fu-san (from fusen, the Japanese word for “balloon”), the Hawks’ newest spokes-character is a pure white…thing wearing the team’s uniform and a baseball cap atop its oversized, balloon-like head. Part of Fu-san’s shtick is his clumsy pratfalls as he runs about the stadium, and the designers were obviously aiming for the “so creepy it’s cute” category.

That’s a tough tightrope to walk, though, and apparently long-time Yakult Swallows mascot Tsubakuro found the rival club’s newest member more disturbing than appealing, as evidenced by his actions during a recent meeting between the two teams.

As shared by the official Twitter account of Nippon Pro Baseball’s Pacific League (the division the Hawks belong to), Fu-san was prancing across the outfield towards Tsubakuro,when the Hawks’ mascot lost his footing and tumbled to the turf.

Swallows are known for their speed in flight, but apparently Tsubakuro is just as quick in spotting an opportunity to wreck sudden violence upon his enemies.

And what better way to follow up a boot to the face than a bullet to the head?

OK, so Tsubakuro’s piece looks like it fires T-shirts or baseballs or some other kind of give-away for fans in the stands. And the fact that the still images come directly from Japanese pro baseball’s governing body seems to suggest that this was some kind of approved publicity stunt, and not an actual fight. It’s still cold as ice that Tsubakuro felt the need to aim the barrel at Fu-san’s head and pull the trigger.

Thankfully, the size of the head on the Fu-san costume means that both attacks probably harmlessly struck empty air. And hey, at least no heads rolled in this clash of characters.

Source: Jin, Nikkan Sports
Insert image: Fukuoka SoftBank Haws official website