During the battle of Kurikara in 1183, Minamoto no Yoshitaka's army gathered a herd of oxen, and released them down the pass directly into the enemy's army, with lit torches tied to their horns. Based on this historical episode, the festival of Genpei Kagypu Matsuri created the mascot Merugyu-kun in 1999. The syllable "meru" refers to the typical architectural design of Oyabe and "gyu" means "ox" in Japanese.
The name of the city is written on Merugyu's stomach in a drawing of the shape of Inabayama's farm. In 2002, Merugyu-kun met his future girlfriend, Merumomo-chan. In 2012, they decided to spend their Valentine's day in the city of Oyabe who has the reputation to be the best place for lovers.
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