You know Kumamon, the famous mascot/yurukyara from Kumamoto prefecture.
Kumamon (くまモン) is a mascot created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. He was first created in 2010 for a campaign called Kumamoto Surprise (くまもとサプライズ Kumamoto Sapuraizu) to draw tourists to the region after the Kyushu Shinkansen line opened. Kumamon subsequently became nationally popular, and in late 2011, was voted top in a nationwide survey of mascots, collectively known as Yuru-kyara (ゆるキャラ), garnering over 280,000 votes. Following his success in the contest, Kumamoto earned ¥11.8 billion (US$120 million, GB£79 million, €93 million) in merchandising revenue for the first half of 2012, after having only earned ¥2.5 billion (US$26 million, GB£17 million, €20 million) throughout all of 2011.
And you know Rurouni Kenshin, a popular manga and anime that was turned into a live action movie in 2012.
Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心 Rurōni Kenshin) is a 2012 Japanese film adaptation of the manga of the same name originally written by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Directed by Keishi Ōtomo, the film stars Takeru Satoh and Emi Takei. The film focuses on fictional events that take place during the early Meiji period in Japan, telling the story of a wanderer named Himura Kenshin, formerly known as the assassin Hitokiri Battōsai. After participating in the Bakumatsu war, Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin.
But have you heard of Rurouni Kumamon?
As an April Fool’s joke, Kumamon teamed up with the PR team of the upcoming Rurouni Kenshin film sequels and replaced the lead actor, Takeru Sato, on the movies’ website and on select posters throughout Tokyo. The website has since gone back to normal and the Kumamon as Rurouni Kenshin poster has gone back to Takeru Sato as Rurouni Kenshin, but the collaboration is still going strong.
From May 3rd, if you buy a set of advance tickets to the movie sequels (due out in August and September of this year), you’ll also receive special edition phone straps of Kumamon as Kenshin and Shishio, the main villain.
But why Kumamon?animeanime.jp
Although the sequels take place in Kyoto in the story, parts of the films were filmed in Kumamoto.
On-location shooting on a broad scale of those films has been done in Kumamoto Prefecture since the beginning of this month.
On August 11, Sunday, when the on-location shooting in Kumamoto was reaching a final phase, Ono Taisuke, the vice-governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, and the very popular Yuru-chara (mascot character) Kuma-mon rushed to the casts and the director to cheer them up.
The location sites used for the shooting were Manda-ko(designated as a national important cultural property, national historic sites), former Misumi court house in Uki City (registered as a prefectural tangible cultural property), Yachiyo-za in Yamaka City (designated as a national important cultural property). All three sites are precious cultural heritages designated by the country or the prefecture. The leading actor Sato Takeru and other main casts, such as Takei Emi, Aoki, Eguchi Yosuke have been taking part in the on-location shooting in various regions around Japan.