Arukuma, mascot of the year!
The Yuru Yuru Grand Prix, big annual mascot competition, has revealed the 2019 winner in early November among close to 800 mascots representing their cities or prefectures, or institutions: congrats to Arukuma, Nagano’s mascot who had suited up for the occasion!
As kawaii as his predecessors, the mascot of the year is a cute green bear wearing an apple-shaped hood, Nagano being famous for its apples. He sometimes wears other hoods, shaped like a wine bottle, a matsutake mushroom, soba noodles, each representing one of the region’s specialty, or also a Buddhist temple, Zenkô-ji temple around which was built the original village of Nagano back in the 7th century. Arukuma has jumped from the 17th place in 2018 to the first this year with 106,419 votes. Kaparu, last year’s winner, attended the event and gave him the gold medal.
Second with only a few votes less than Arukuma, Inunakin represented the city of Izumisano in Osaka Prefecture, as a dog wearing a cape. As for Korou Kun, third of the competition, he represents a castle from Kumamoto Prefecture, in the South of Japan and the hometown of the first Yuru Yuru Grand Prix winner in 2011 who is now a regular at Japan Expo, the one and only Kumamon!