Meet Kumamon, Japan's Most Popular Bear Mascot!

by Japan Yay! Staff on Sep 05 2017 |

An adorable and pudgy bear has recently been taking over hearts in Japan. He's earned international interest by those who have been amused and charmed by his pudgy body and large eyes.

Kumamon bear was created by the Kumamoto prefecture to promote tourism. Kumamoto is the capital of Kyushu, an island of Japan, with a population of a little over 700,000! First spotted walking about in Osaka, Japan way back in 2011, Kumamon quickly became a sensation on social media and a success in generating some hefty revenue numbers for his region as well.

In just two years (2011-2012), Kumamon had generated US$1.2 billion in economic benefits for his region, including tourism and product sales, as well as US$90 million worth of publicity, according to a recent Bank of Japan study. Sales of Kumamon items have reached ¥29.3 billion in 2012, up from ¥2.5 billion in 2011.

Kumamon is now known as Japan's most popular bear mascot... and in a sea of Japanese mascots, that's a big feat. Following his quick rise to fame, fans of the Kumamon can purchase a wide variety of Kumamon plushies and read manga based on the big-eyed bear across the world.