Mass mascot mania

FUZZ & FUR: JAPAN’S COSTUMED CHARACTERS

By Edward and John Harrison (New York: Mark Batty Publisher, 2011, 144 pp., $16.95, hardcover)

Edward and John Harrison put together a collection of photos to introduce to Americans the phenomenon of anthropomorphized mascots that represent Japanese prefectures, towns, districts and businesses. Inside their collection are lovable plush mascots and their attributes. Nearly 150 different mascots from the various prefectures in Japan are represented.

Are they dorky? Yes. Are they affective? Very.

The book delves shortly into the philosophy behind mascots and their real life kigurumi versions.

The Harrisons also introduce the concept of yurukyara (unaggressive, soothing character) that these characters embody. Each character is photographed in their kigurumi costumes. Kigurumi are life-sized mascot dolls people don. Many of the costumes are professionally tailored and cost as much as half a million yen ($6,491). The larger than life characters are cute and soft. They are super-deformed like an anime character come to life.

This is a coffee table book, through and through. It’s entertaining, colorful and interesting. Mark Batty is a master at publishing these sorts of books, and the Harrisons are no rookies, either. Their eye for design and understanding of the essence of mascots in Japan make for a fun collection that is easy to fan through.

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