There are hundreds, maybe thousands of mascots in Japan and generally they are really good. But… there are also exceptions. Here’s Sento-kun, a mascot launched 2 years ago, which became famous not only because of the intense promotion but because of the controversy created immediately after it was presented.
The Nara City Office wanted a mascot to commemorate the 1300th anniversary of the ancient capital of Japan, Nara Heijo-kyo. So twelve guest designers were each invited to create a mascot and the winner was a sculptor and professor from the University of Tokyo, Satoshi Yabuuchi. He is the creator of Sento-kun, who is a religiously dressed young boy, with some traits specific to Buddha statues (Nikkeishū on the forehead and elongated ears), plus… the antlers of a deer, well, because he lives in Nara…
Needless to say, many people expressed negative views towards the new mascot… it was called creepy, monster and even blasphemous… Of course, there are also people considering Sento-kun cute, or at least kimo kawaii - cute but grotesque.
My opinion? The concept is interesting, but the realization is lacking… I especially don’t like the eyes…
Sento-kun, Nara mascot
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Odawara Castle’s Tokiwagi Gate