Chiba’s whimsical self-declared mascot25 June, 2013 by Chad
Japan love their mascots, they’ve got mascots for everything. Each of Japan’s 47 prefecture has it’s own mascot too, such as Nara’s less than flattering Sentokun and many of the smaller cities have adopted their own signature characters. Hailing from Chiba’s Funabashi city is Funassyi. Funassyi isn’t the city’s mascot. But that doesn’t stop Funassyi.
The woman behind Funassyi has been doning the costume since 2011. But Funassyi had only shot to fame/infamy last year thanks to a number of viral videos featuring the costumed oddity including a self-made music video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s Tell Me Maybe. Only more recently has Funassyi’s reputation spread to the rest of the world thanks to social media.
Funassyi derives its name from a combination of its city of Funabashi, and the city’s famous product of sand pears or “nashi” in Japanese. Relatedly, Funassyi calls itself a Pear Fairy. Appearance-wise, Funassyi doesn’t quite stand out from the other, often stranger Japanese mascots.
What caught the public attention however was Funassyi’s hyperactive nature. It’s erratic movements are part surreal, part disturbing, but just like much of Japanese humor, we can’t help but laugh from the discomfort that comes with it.
The internet, and Japan has taken really well to the whimsical self-made mascot. Since news broke of Funassyi, she’s been invited to appear in a number of variety programs and even got to star in a number of television commercials beside other official mascots.
Funabashi’s city approved mascots had better watch out for their jobs, as Funassyi’s fame grows. In the span of a few months, Funassyi’s twitter has attracted nearly 160,000 followers and the unofficial mascot is now busy with invites to represent at various events. You’ll find no shortage of Funassyi merchandise too these days, at Funassyi’s Official Blog and the Nippon Television store for example. For the equally crazed, there’s even a Funassyi themed cell phone app.
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