Kumamoto’s mascot character “Kumamon” is proving more popular than ever after winning the title of Japan’s most popular mascot in an online poll in 2011. Goods and souvenirs emblazoned with the red, white and black bear character’s image last year brought it over 29 billion yen, the Kumamoto Prefectural government said on Thursday.
Kumamon’s popularity has grown year on year to the point that Hisao Wakasugi, Kumamon’s promotional team manager, now receives around 400 applications a month put the character’s image on various Kumamoto products, TV Asahi reported. Kumamon currently appears on around 8,200 items.
According to the team, Kumamon foodstuffs bring in 24.64 billion yen per year, while accessories and ornaments made 2.69 billion yen. Kumamoto Prefecture estimates that around half of goods emblazoned with Kumamon’s image are unofficial and unregistered, and that the actual figures may be even higher.
Kumamoto Gov Ikuo Kabashima told reporters, “In terms of PR for Kumamoto, Kumamon must be worth around 100 billion yen.”