Eco-Friendly: 8 Odd Japanese Environmental Mascots


Japan seems to have a mascot character for just about anything and the conservation boom of recent years has provided a tremendous boost for the mascot “industry”. These 8 cute eco-friendly characters epitomize the subtle way Japan‘s governmental and corporate entities greenwash their environmental initiatives, making them more acceptable to a generation conditioned by Hello Kitty and her countless clones.

Kyoto’s Eco-chan

(images via: City of Kyoto, Daigosakurayama and Colors Design Blog Project)

Eco-chan (“Dear Eco”) was dreamed up by the city of Kyoto to promote the use of various city-sponsored conservation measures such as energy-efficient buses. The big pink blob character, by the way, is Kogomi-chan, mascot of the Environment Department.

(image via: Mayumaro)

Eco-chan displays a conservative design that features typical mascot talking points like a “happy-face” smile and a stylized heart. This type of universal, please-everyone design is most likely the result of a consensus approach. So, “Do You Kyoto?” If so, please do it in an environmentally friendly way.

TBS’s EcoBOO

(images via: Akasaka Keizai Shimbun, Donguri and Weathercaster)

We’ve got Honey Boo Boo, Japan’s got EcoBOO – both are cute and frightening at the same time. TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, Inc.) came up with EcoBoo to be the friendly face of the media group’s frequent “Green Week” and other promotional campaigns. The “Boo” in EcoBOO comes from Buta, the Japanese word for pig.

(image via: The Boo-Star Project)

EcoBOO doesn’t smile, setting him/her/it apart from the vast majority of Japanese mascot characters. Then again, the design doesn’t include a mouth so the artists are forced to project a cute, unintimidating vibe from the character’s other features. Have they succeeded, do you think?

Mr. Maru

(images via: Qrepo, Ayase Business Blog and Chiba Prefectural Environmental Foundation Fund)

Meet “Mr. Maru”, mascot of the Junior Eco Club and a proponent of simplicity and anti-wastefulness to children everywhere… well, everywhere in Japan at least. Not only is Mr. Maru’s design economical and frill-free, even his name is as plain as punch: “maru” means “round” in Japanese.

(image via: On The Track!)

Speaking of punch, Mr. Maru had best do his environmental promotions in Japan and avoid visiting places where Kool-Aid is sold. C’mon, don’t tell us you didn’t notice a certain resemblance to Kool-Aid Man, lemon-lime edition. Perhaps Mr. Maru and Kool-Aid Man could join forces against global warming, providing the forces fighting climate change with a… one-two punch.

Sanjo City’s Eco-San Chan-chan

This oddly redundant mascot represents environmental initiatives promoted by the city of Sanjo in Niigata prefecture located in northwestern Japan. Presumably the black “S” shape surrounding the character’s two faces stands for Sanjo – what other explanation could there be?

(image via: Niigata-Kankou)

Eco-san Chan-Chan’s activities are pretty much limited to marching in parades and appearing at a variety of grand opening ceremonies in and around Sanjo City, and considering the slightly disturbing weirdness of this particular character we think that’s all it should be allowed to do.

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