Kumamoto Mascot Kumamon Experiences Brief COVID-19 Scare

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Announced hiatus due to staffer's possible exposure to the virus but returned after test came back negative

Kumamoto Prefecture mascot character Kumamon experienced a brief scare with COVID-19 earlier last week. On Saturday, the mascot's website announced that it would take an indefinite break from appearances because a staffer related to Kumamon had been in contact with someone who had contracted the virus. That same day, however, the website posted a second update saying that the test results for the staffer in question had come back negative, so Kumamon can immediately return to public life.

Kumamon's official Twitter account has indicated that he's certainly been as lively as ever this week.

Kumamon is a mascot character for Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan born in March 2010. He was appointed by the governor of Kumamoto Prefecture to serve as the Sales Manager and Happiness Manager of Kumamoto Prefecture. The character's simple but cute design attracted contracts for everything from personal hygiene products to toys and food packaging. The character quickly became a billion yen celebrity from the most humble of beginnings. The character was the result of a six-man team that quickly generated 29.3 billion yen (US$263.9 million) in sales of Kumamon products in 2012.

The character has collaborated with the live-action Rurouni Kenshin films, the Yowamushi Pedal and Evangelion anime series, and met actor Keanu Reeves. He has become the face of disaster relief for Kumamoto after the area suffered damaging earthquakes in 2016.

Source: Kumamon's Official website (Link 2) via Hachima Kikō

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