As you already know, during the last weeks South Japan was hit by a series of strong earthquakes which have caused many damages and forced thousands of people to leave their homes. The afflicted area is the Kumamoto Prefecture, on Kyushu Island, place of some important historical buildings, like Aso Shrine, one of the most ancient of Japan, and Kumamoto Castle. Even if we are a little late, we wish to remind you what we can do to help the survivors and we want to do it our way… by introducing you to Kumamon, the Kumamoto Prefecture mascot!
Japan is the reign of original characters and obviously there are a lot of regional mascots, created to promote tourism in the various prefecture. Kumamon made his debut on 2010: he is a black bear with red cheeks, he works as a public employee and in few months he became a little celebrity. One year after his creation, in fact, he won the popular Yuru-chara Grand Prix, a national competition that (since 2010) award a prize to the most loved regional mascots, becoming a star also overseas and the protagonist of a meme.
After the quake, Kumamon became one of the symbols of the awareness campaigns, though not officially. In fact, even if the official social accounts are silent since earthquake day, many artists have chosen Kumamon as the face of the campaign Pray for Kumamoto and to show their support to the afflicted population.
What we can do to help from the other side of the world? In the days following the earthquake, many fundraising campaigns have been launched, like this one organized by Global Giving Foundation. In this article from Japan Times, there also a list of more organizations active to bring help to the afflicted areas (some are Japanese only). Also, if you are around Tokyo, you can show your support shopping at Kumamoto-kan, the official store of Kumamoto prefecture in Ginza, and maybe bring home some gadget with the big face of Kumamon on it. Get well soon, Kumamon! ♥