This is an otter travesty.

The mayor of Susaki City in Kochi Prefecture has officially requested that popular yurukyara mascot Chiitan “suspend activities.” The activities in question include falling over a lot and attempting various everyday activities in a giant otter suit.

All this has been brought to us through a steady stream of social media videos that can really brighten your day.

The point of Susaki’s contention is the copyright infringement Chiitan imposes on the city’s own official mascot Shinjo-kun, who is also well-known as the 2016 Yurukyara Grand Prix champion. Both Shinjo-kun and Chiitan’s suits are made by the same person and clearly have a similar style.

Initially, Susaki embraced Chiitan and declared her to be a “Tourism Ambassador” for them, despite the fact she was based in Tokyo.

▼ Shinjo-kun was Chiitan’s guest on her first ever YouTube video, suggesting a fruitful partnership between the two.

The amicable relationship continued for some time, but in January of this year Susaki reported that they had received over 100 complaints from residents that Chiitan’s behavior was unbecoming of the city. As a result, Mayor Kosaku Kusunose rescinded her status as Tourism Ambassador.

This sparked some concern that Chiitan’s likeness to Shinjo-kun might cause a problem. However, at the time of her dismissal, there appeared to be no animosity. Mayor Kusunose himself told Yomiuri Shimbun, “It’s an unfortunate matter, but it was damaging the image of Shinjo-kun, who is working at regional unification.”

▼ In all fairness, Chiitan probably wasn’t the greatest influence on Shinjo-kun

Even Mayor Kusunose’s more recent comments felt somewhat begrudged, suggesting he may not entirely be on board with the idea of going after Chiitan. It’s possible he is being pressured by a certain segment of his citizenry. On 6 February he told media, “The copyright is the property of the citizens. Legal action is an option.”

On the other hand, the timing of their complaint is suspicious, coming right on the heels of the Chiitan anime announcement. Set to air on 3 April, Yosei Chiitan represents a rare cross-over for a yurukyara to become a full-fledged anime character – one which would be completely obliterated by a copyright infringement claim.

▼ “Yesterday I was a little dirty when I got home from playing, so I was told I was going to go and play in a special room! Chiitan’s excited about the special room!”

Legally speaking, Susaki does have Chiitan dead to rights, and is entitled to a piece of her action if that is really what they are looking for. However, if they do intend to shut her down for good, depriving us all of Chiitan’s antics would be a grave misstep for the city’s own reputation and will probably do more harm than good.

So how about we all drop Susaki a message via their website linked below and ask them if they really want to be known as “The City that Killed Chiitan”?

To send Susaki City a message click here. Enter your name in the first space, then your email, then the subject title, and finally the message. I recommend something along the lines of “How dare you!?” or “I had no idea Susaki City was anti-otter.”

Source: Kyodo, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@love2chiitan