Fairy baby otter has a few words to say about what’s happening in the U.S. right now. 

Japanese mascot Chiitan, the unofficial “Tourism Ambassador” to Susaki City in Kochi Prefecture, has been riding out the ups and downs on the rollercoaster of fame recently. In April last year, the self-described “0-year-old fairy baby” became famous around the world after a hilarious TV feud with American talk show host John Oliver, but weeks later, Twitter suspended all six of Chiitan’s official verified accounts with no explanation.

While copyright infringement claims from Susaki’s official mascot may have played a part in the otter’s suspension on Twitter, Chiitan continued to fight against the forces that tried to keep a baby otter down, persisting through the tough times with a new Twitter account and 83,000 adoring followers.

This new account has given the silent character a much-needed voice online to express all its views, and earlier this month, Chiitan used this platform to spread the word on the Black Lives Matter movement. Standing in solidarity with U.S. protestors, the Japanese mascot shared a 94-second video to express the anger and sorrow that was felt following the killing of George Floyd, explaining the situation in simple terms, in a way only a fairy baby otter can.

Chiitan has built up a reputation for being one of the country’s most fearless mascots, often straying from the pack with behaviour many would deem unsuitable for a cute and cuddly character. While other mascots have remained silent on the Black Lives Matter protests happening in the U.S. and other countries, Chiitan isn’t afraid to stand out from the pack by making a statement, much to the delight of fans around the world.

“Chiitan, what a kind, good child you are!”
“You’re always letting us know about important issues. Thank you!”
“We’re grateful for your support – we love you!”
“You’ve brought tears to my eyes.”
“When there are big problems like this, I often feel like there’s nothing I can do. But you’ve shown us there’s something we can all do to help!” 

While longstanding, embedded problems like systemic racism and police brutality really can make individuals feel helpless, it’s important to realise the power of the individual to effect change in collective efforts by donating to causes like Chiitan and participating in peaceful marches in cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Maybe one day Chiitan will be seen walking the streets with a placard in silent protest against the system. Until then, we’ll be keeping an eye on the otter’s Twitter account for updates.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@chiitan7407
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