Just recently Japan celebrated the biggest Yurukyara (ゆるきゃら) festival in Japan. Yurukara refers to mascot characters in Japanese. Yurui meaning gentle and Kyara meaning character. These characters are indeed soft and cuddly.. as well as most of them look adorable.
At the Hikone (彦根市) festival, the most famous mascots from all over Japan gathered together for their loyal fans in 2013. All kinds of events take place, but most importantly this is the chance for fans to buy goods of their favorite mascots such as stickers, t-shirts, pens, posters and books.
One of the most interesting characters at the event was Tobitakun (とび太くん) which is already 40 years of age! But he hasn’t been a yurukyara all this time, instead the face is more known from street corners and intersections around Shiga (滋賀県) and surrounding areas. The purpose of tobitakun, is to remind drivers to be careful not to run into accidents. Especially concerning smaller kids who are crossing the row.
Because it’s historical significant as the first of such characters in Japan, there are already numerous fans around the country. Also the tobitakun goods being sold are becoming popular. See their homepage for more information.