Fukuoka City Appropriates 2channel 'Kumaa' Meme

posted on by Gia Manry
City uses forum's "Kumaa" ASCII art in educational campaign for young consumers

This past June, the Consumer Life Center in the Japanese city of Fukuoka posted a series of online documents in which an ASCII (text character) art bear gives consumers tips on avoiding falling into deep trouble. The bear shown in the PDF files (pictured right) is based on "Kumaa" (literally "bearrr," pictured left), the ASCII art bear popular on Japan's 2channel message board. The only difference between Fukuoka's bear and Kumaa is a Japanese character on the bear's head which reads "extinguish."

The documents acknowledge the origin of the bear in a footnote on each file's first page:

"For the purpose of helping protect young consumers, the Consumer Life Bear is altered ASCII art from an Internet message board. The Center claims no rights to the design. To the original artist, we offer our deep gratitude."

Although it originated on Japan's 2channel boards, Kumaa began appearing on the English-language 4chan message boards where he became known as "Pedobear." The Pedobear meme has since spread beyond 4chan, and the character is even cosplayed at anime conventions. The character's non-ASCII design was also mistakenly identified by a Polish newspaper as a mascot of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

[Via 2ch VIP News Flash Blog, Ko Ransom]

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