Pikachu Lookalike Mascot Costume Abandoned by City
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The city of Ube in Yamaguchi Prefecture decided on Wednesday to abandon the use of its "Ecoha-chan" recycling mascot character costume (pictured at right). The city made the decision after online posters and Japanese media outlets began noting the similarity between the costume and the Pokémon character Pikachu.
City officials discussed the situation with the brand management company that owns the copyright to Pokémon, and, according to city officials, the two parties decided that the city would stop using the Ecoha-chan costume, but agreed that the city could still use the original illustration (pictured below) of Ecoha-chan.
Last Monday the city posted a picture on its blog of the costumed version of Ecoha-chan attending the opening ceremony for the city's new "Ginten Eco Plaza." Afterward, readers of the city's blog and other people online began to point out similarities between the costume and Pikachu.
The character of Ecoha-chan, who was designed by the city's recycling industry group, was first introduced at an ecological event last October. The character's copyrights and costume are owned by the city itself.
A spokesperson for the Pokémon company that owns the title franchise originally said last week that the company would gather information and consider how to respond.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun