Eco-Friendly: 8 Odd Japanese Environmental Mascots

Muyan

(images via: Sakai.ed)

Muyan is new to the mascot game and from the looks of him he’s not all that happy about it. Designed by a junior high school sophomore, Muyan is the city of Sakai’s first waste reduction mascot. Good thing he’s not promoting WAIST reduction as that would be a bit self-defeating.

(image via: Sakai.ed)

Did Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch have an influence on this slightly “trashy” character’s design? Come on Muyan, turn that frown upside down… actually that’s the only way to make his garbage pail hat useful for things like, well, disposing of garbage.

Tochimaru-kun

(images via: Risako Nakagawa and Ayatsumugi.com)

Tochimaru-kun is a multi-talented character designed to represent Tochigi prefectures efforts in the areas of health, fitness, environmental awareness and general clean living. It’s an economical move by the Tochigi government who’ll save bigtime on consulting and design fees for a host of niche-oriented mascots. Good news for Tochigi taxpayers; bad news for those who love mascots. We’re not sure what the pay is for being a mascot, by the way, but considering the pair of images above we’ll bet lots of folks would do it for free.

(image via: Hotel Maruji)

Tochimaru-kun has his own web presence where he and his sponsors disseminate news, views and who’s who’s concerning Tochigi’s many health and recreation opportunities. The character is an interesting attempt to link environmental activism with human health, exercise and physical fitness.

Uni & Eco

(images via: Phile Web, Impress Watch, Ketai Watch and TPCompany Genba Now)

Conjured up by the advertising department of Mitsubishi Electric, “Uni & Eco” are twin characters whose names stand for Universal Design and Ecology respectively. The pair of mascots helped introduce Mitsubishi’s new collection of home appliances at a press conference last April. The focus is on ease of use and reducing environmental impact, features Japanese consumers are looking for these days.

(image via: Ringo Koringo Kokoringo)

Uni & Eco aren’t exactly the Terrance and Phillip of Japan though since they haven’t been given their own TV show yet there’s still hope. In the meantime, one can’t blame the two for looking a little apprehensive… what will they do when Mitsubishi introduces it’s next new line of home appliances with a corresponding new ad campaign? For now it’s just sit, wait & bite what passes for fingernails. At least Eco gets to go out on his/her own from time to time, there not being much call for a “Universal Design” mascot.

Comame-chan

(images via: Yahoo Japan, GDO, Challenge25 and Chushikoku)

Meet Comame-chan, the “CO2 Bean” that’s green through and through! Introduced by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment way back in 2001, Comame-chan is the point man, er, point vegetable in the fight to slow down global warming. Curiously, beans and other plants thrive on Carbon Dioxide and would actually do rather well in a future environment boasting increased levels of CO2. Should we really be putting our hopes to reduce global warming in the hands of Comame-chan? Did someone at the Ministry not think this thing through?

(image via: Yahoo Japan)

Comame-chan should have a decent run as a mascot since the problem of CO2 and the greenhouse effect it causes is a long-term problem with few easy solutions. Our loss is Comame-chan’s gain, however, and one can’t blame the jolly green giant for grinning at the thought he’ll never be a has-bean.


(image via: Closed Eyes)

Save the whales, save the planet, save the future… and in Japan, 2 out of three ain’t bad. At least the use of cute mascots helps put a positive spin on a matter that can be downright depressing once you give it some thought. Keep saving, keep smiling, and support your local environmental mascot: it’s gotta be HOT inside one of those suits!

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