Kenta Watanabe, Creator of VTuber Hot Springs Mascot Chizuru, Passes Away
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on Saturday that Kenta Watanabe, the creator of the "Dennō Okami Chizuru" mascot character, passed away after he and his family were reported missing after torrential rains caused floods and landslides across the Kyushu region in Japan earlier this month. He was 28.
Kenta Watanabe was in a car with his grandmother Toshimi (81), and his parents Yumi (51) and Tomomi (54), when floods in the Oita region of Kyushu swept the car away on July 7. Police confirmed the death of Toshimi Watanabe, manager of the Ryokan Tsuruya Intaku inn, on July 8. A firefighter found Kenta's body on Thursday, and found Yumi's body on Saturday. Police then confirmed their identities on Saturday.
"Dennō Okami Chizuru" is the mascot of the Ryokan Tsuruya Intaku inn, which is located in the Yunohira hot spring district in Yufu. The character is also a VTuber, who disseminates tourist information about the Yunohira hot spring district and Ryokan Tsuruya Intaku. The character became popular, and a local voice actress was attached to the character.
Dennō Okami Chizuru's official Twitter account posted its most recent update the evening of July 7, stating that the staff of the Ryokan Tsuruya Intaku had temporarily evacuated.
The heavy rains in Japan in mid-July have left 77 people dead and seven missing as of July 16. Most of the casualties are located in Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu. Japan is facing more heavy rain this weekend.