Unofficial Funabashi Mascot Funassyi Discusses Its Reduction of TV Appearances

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Cites health problems, lack of desire to be a TV personality

Funassyi, the unofficial pear fairy mascot of Funabashi city in Chiba, went from 102 TV appearances in 2014 to just four in 2018. Funassyi explained in an interview with Diamond Online that they didn't have the desire to be a TV personality in the first place. They merely accepted offers from TV programs to appear, but over time, the demands were getting more and more physically strenuous, so they started to refuse the offers.

In particular, Funassyi remarked that the TV programs would request they do over-the-top antics like lighting a fire on their costume and running, or getting hit by a truck. "I don't want to be a stunt man, so I felt it was off," they said. They mentioned an incident four or five years ago when they fell ill filming an underwater scene in location in Mexico and had to go to hospital. Funassyi was pressured to cut their hospital stay short in order to continue filming, as well as participate in other strenuous activities like wrestling.

"I thought I was going to die," they said.

Funassyi suffered from excessive pain for two months, and was unable to walk for a time. However, in order to keep up with the schedule, they did not go to hospital and coped with the pain with anesthetic injections.

Nowadays, Funassyi's main activities are attending events and talk shows, where they keep excessive stunts to a minimum. They emphasized that they still have a desire to promote Funabashi and the Chiba prefecture so that they can make Japan a slightly happier place. The concept for Funassyi's character was conceived following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

Funassyi is a regional mascot that garnered attention for their wacky personality and antics. CNN newscasters were practically rolling on the floor with laughter after interviewing the character in 2014. Their popularity landed it a manga series, tie-in merchandise, anime-related PR stunts, a chart-topping single, an appearance on American television, a concert at Budōkan, its own anime shorts, and a role in a PreCure film.

Funassyi said last year that the reduction of their TV appearances is in part due to narrowing down the character's focus and watching out for their health.

Source: Diamond Online

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