Japan Expo Paris - July 14-17, 2022
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Shinjo-kun, the mascot of the year!

The Yuru Yuru Grand Prix, the big mascot contest that can only exist in Japan, has rewarded its champion for 2016 a few days ago, among the 1,421 mascots which were registered to represent cities, prefectures, and also institutions: congrats to Shinjo-kun, whom Japan Expo had welcomed last summer!

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So kawaii, 2016’s number 1 mascot represents an extinct species of river otters. Shinjo-kun comes after Ieyasu-kun, Hamamatsu’s mascot representing one of the most famous characters of Japanese History, shôgun Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. 

Shinjo-kun, who came 4th in 2015, now reaches the 1st place, to represent the city of Susaki, set in Kôchi prefecture on the island of Shikoku. The real Japanese river otter was last spotted on the river Shinjo, in the city of Susaki, in 2012. This quite common species has since then become officially extinct, because of intensive hunting and the pollution of the waters it lived in.

Shinjo-kun is wearing a nabeyaki râmen-shaped hat – nabeyaki râmen being a special dish from Susaki. Il lui arrive même de prêter son chapeau à ses amis mascottes.

 
 

Neither of the mascots which came after Shinjo-kun were on the previous years’ podiums. Coming 2nd, Hanipon represents the city of Honjo in Saitama. It has the shape of clay statues in the style of haniwa, a 1,400 years old art. 3rd, Chuppi, a cute little mouse, is the mascot of the city of Soja in Okayama.

Let’s also mention something quite new with 2 institutional, not local, mascots in the top 10 this year: Resonya (8th), the mascot of an important Japanese bank, and Posukuma (9th), representing the national post service. 

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