If drawing attention to a Japanese city or region is the purpose of the yuuru-kyara mascot, consider Mr. Kure’s mission accomplished. This blue, kanji-emblazoned fuzzball may well be the most fly of the country’s 1,500+ mascots, and like an elite few of his predecessors his music video has gone viral.
Making his debut this month, Mr. Kure, or Kure-shi as he’s known in Japan, is the new mascot of Hiroshima Prefecture’s Kure City. And despite looking like an inspired, mom-made Halloween costume, Mr. Kure is actually designed to invoke the Seto Inland Sea with his wavy, blue hair. The kanji character on the front names the city and furigana helps clarify the reading on the back. “Kure” also means “please” in casual Japanese, so you’ll often hear Mr. Kure tagging his name on the end of commands.
Mr. Kure isn’t the only attraction in the video though. With lots of nature and the sea always in sight, Kure City is itself a beautiful place to behold. It has a rich history, too. From 1889 until end of World War II, for example, it served as a major port for the Japanese Imperial Navy, where it’s known to have launched the heaviest battleship ever built, the Yamato. Of course, being part of Hiroshima, you’ll also find the requisite assortment of delicious okonomiyaki, craft beer, and navy curry.
If you watched the video above, there’s a good chance the song is still looping ceaselessly in your head. You can blame that on the nineties pop group TRF who created the gem “Crazy Gonna Crazy,” which inspired the Kure City version. Oh, and, by the way, you can be hip like Mr. Kure too. Just check out the instructional video for all the dance moves.
It is not the first time that we have seen this kind of strange yet effective use of the music video format to promote regional Japan. Recent examples include the KBG84 “grandma idols” of Okinawa, synchronized swimming in Oita’s hot springs, and a half dog, half human pop idol from Akita.
They all want to be the latest viral hit. In fact, one from Beppu boasted that it would create a whole new amusement park if the video hit a certain number of views.