Funassyi is the unofficial mascot of Funabashi, Chiba. Its zest for life, stunts, and rock ‘n’ roll have taken the world by storm. How did it manage to win the hearts of not only its hometown, but also close out stadiums? Read more to find out why Funassyi is one of the most popular mascots out there!
In 2011, a Funabashi resident decided to create a character for their local business – a pear born in a pear orchard on July 4, in the year 138. The mascot character became so popular on Twitter that a mascot suit was made so the character could have a real life.
The unusual pear’s energetic personality made it more and more popular on Twitter and YouTube. Funabashi City created its own official mascot called “Funaemon” in March 2013, but there were a few problems; it was a forgettable, average-looking, Edo period salaryman with no personality…and glasses.
Because of Funaemon’s blandness, Funabashi City gravitated towards Funassyi instead. And so, it took the world by storm, similar to other offbeat mascots.
In 2013, Funassyi’s official theme song skyrocketed to popularity after its release on the Universal Music Japan record label. The song featured members of the legendary rock band, The Alfee, who also appeared in the music video.
Funassyi’s love of rock music, dancing and headbanging made it even more famous and, naturally, people wanted to know more about the hyperactive mascot. Funassyi told fans it was most inspired by Ozzy Ozbourne and Aerosmith. Then, the mascot showed its love for rock music, by releasing a full album in 2014.
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Funassyi may not have been Funabashi’s official mascot, but the city was very thankful for the help promoting the city. The mascot appeared at events with the city’s official mascot, Funaemon. But the character wasn’t only popular in Funabashi – Funassyi’s social media stunts and love for music were getting attention not only in Japan, but all over the world.
The mascot was becoming so popular that it even answered questions from foreign reporters at a conference. But it may have been the legendary “mascot run” on Japanese TV in 2014 that started the character’s international career.
In the video, Funassyi outruns explosions “Die Hard”-style as other mascots look on in horror. In 2015, The American late night show “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” showed the stunt on their program and called the giant yellow pear “the most popular mascot in Japan”. Funassyi-mania had begun.
People wanted more of the mascot, so in early 2015, Funassyiland, the official Funassyi store, opened in the Lalaport Shopping Center in Funabashi. Customers could finally purchase products with the mascot’s image, ranging from plushies to watches and even baby clothes. Funassyi even got their own television show called Funassyi’s Funafunafu Days which was broadcasted on Nippon TV.
Funassyi was everywhere, but the mascot’s first love was still music. The first official Funassyi music festival was held in Osaka in 2016. More than 12,000 people attended “Nassyi Fes” which had the yellow pear as the headliner.Because of the festival’s success, Funassyi started its own rock band called “Charmetal”.
“Charmetal” was a mascot supergroup. Funassyi on lead vocals, Akkuma (bear from Hokkaido) on lead guitar, Kapal (Shiki City’s official mascot for culture and sports) on bass, and Nyango Star (mascot from Kuroishi City, Aomori) on drums.The band took its mix of pop and metal on tour, starting in Chiba, Japan, then visiting several countries in Asia with tens of thousands visiting the shows.
In 2016, Funassyi left Japan on its two-year “Funassyi World Trip Project”. The lively character visited London, New York, Macau, Mexico, Argentina, and even Antarctica.
Apparently, while filming in Mexico, the character was injured while diving underwater with whale sharks and ended up in the hospital.
But the fearless mascot left the hospital early for another appearance, where it entered the ring with Mexican wrestlers, and was injured once again. Funassyi now spends most of its time talking with customers at its various stores, or appearing at more relaxed events booked through its website.
If you’re interested in other mascots and characters and would like to have one of your own, check out Yumetwins’ upcoming “Magical Moon Festival”. This month’s theme includes Rilakkuma, another internationally known kawaii character!
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