Mysterious Sonic the Hedgehog Statue in Japanese Mountains Gets Refurbished
posted on by Kim Morrissy
A statue of Sonic the Hedgehog located in the mountainside of Iga City in Mie Prefecture has been refurbished by the eldest son of the statue's deceased owner, according to a report by Iga-based news website Iga YOU. The refurbishment was carried out from August 8 to 10 after the son saw a number of online comments about the statue's state of disrepair.
"The statue was getting a lot of attention, but it was also getting extremely dirtied," he told Iga YOU. "Now it's so clean that you wouldn't believe it's the same thing. I'm surprised by it. My father always loved inviting people over, and I think he would have repaired it if he had been alive. I'm sure that he would be happy."
The news was first reported by a Twitter user on August 10, who posted a photo of the statue with the comment: "The Sonic in Takao, Iga City has been cleaned up!"
Kodera's family provided photos of the statue before, during, and after the refurbishment to Iga YOU.
Photos source: Iga YOU
The two-meter tall statue, which shows Sonic riding on a red board, is regarded as a popular gamer pilgrimage spot, and has gained recognition even overseas. It was first installed by Yūji Kodera, who worked at a company that managed amusement facilities in the Osaka Prefecture. According to reporting by local news outlet J-Town, Kodera obtained the statue from a SegaWorld venue after it closed around 15 years ago, when the furnishings were sold off among people involved with the facility. He placed the statue in front of his home as a landmark to help visitors find it.
Kodera passed away three years ago, and for years the statue's existence was obscure. According to reporting by gaming news outlet DenFamiNicoGamer, the statue first gained attention in Japan in 2015, when a biker posted an image of it on Twitter. Its precise location was only discovered by the Sonic fandom in 2018. As of April 2019, the "Sonic the Hedgehog Statue" has a listing on Google Maps. Unfortunately, due to years of being exposed to the elements, the statue showed signs of damage, and its nose was missing.
Coverage by international YouTubers may have contributed to the refurbishment of the statue. In February 2019, YouTuber Badnik Mechanic uploaded a video titled "The Mystery of The Sonic Statue in The Mountains Revealed!", which has accumulated over 500,000 views. The video inspired fans to send messages to Sega asking it to "save the Sonic statue." In a livestream in March 2019, Sega representatives said that the company was interested in restoring the statue, but because Sega does not own the statue anymore, there were certain difficulties around it. One month later, Kodera's son told J-Town that due to the recent coverage, the remaining family had been talking about restoring the statue.
The statue also received international attention in February this year, when TheGamingBeaver released a video showing himself visiting the location and recounting the story. The video has accumulated over 130,000 views.