Japan has mascots everywhere, from organizations to different varieties of events. They’ve been created to promote places, regions, businesses and the like. Even the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (警視庁) has a mascot! His name is Pipo-kun (ピーポくん).
Pipo-kun is a little guy who looks like a mixture of different animals. He likes hovering on police cars, construction sites, and the sides of houses. He will be celebrating his 30th anniversary in Tokyo (東京) soon so you might see him around the city. But first, let’s get to know him more, and find out why he is encouraging kids to remember “ika no osushi (いかのおすし)” or “squid sushi”!
— 警視庁広報課 (@MPD_koho) April 10, 2017
Pipo-kun was created in 1987, and his name was derived from the English “people” and “police.” You can easily spot him in Tokyo city. Several posters and paintings of him are usually displayed on shops, walls, and fences primarily promoting law enforcement. You can see him protecting citizens and fighting crime.
He is a cute, wide-eyed little guy with large ears that help him hear people’s shouts for help. His eyes allow him to see the whole city while his antenna lets him catch quick movements and gives him information. He is always well-informed!
Pipo-kun is not only entertaining, but also very useful. Besides being cute, he is also strong and always happy. His popularity is so great that he also appears on cell phone cases, mouse pads, and school supplies like erasers, pencils, sharpeners and notebooks.
His website gives advice to children and lets them download songs as well as coloring books. You can also find him in museums, community events, street fairs and catch him on parades where he is saluting everyone. He always welcomes people with open arms. He also appears in TV detective dramas where the setting is the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
To celebrate his 30th year on the scene, Pipo-kun has a surprise video clip for viewers where he can be seen transforming into a muscular man! During a dream, he becomes stern-looking and chest-baring, thus he becomes “Super Pipo-kun (スーパーピーポくん)”!
His appearance is totally different from his original self. He is also seen wearing a pair of trousers showing off his muscular body. This anthropomorphization created a lot of attention and social media buzz. The clip shows the mascot advising children on what to do if they meet a stranger who calls out to them. If danger occurs, they have to raise their voice, run away immediately and tell an adult. He also asks kids to memorize “ika no osushi” to help them remember the steps to take if a stranger approaches them.
This is the first time a Japanese mascot has transformed into a man. This is an eye-catching campaign that will hopefully help children take care of themselves by staying away from strangers and Pipo-kun has suggested a realistic way of doing that.
As an influential mascot, his five-minute clip will likely make him even more popular and useful in the police force and to society as a whole. The celebration is hoping to bring people closer to the police department. Let’s hope Pipo-kun will continue to help people and prevent crime!
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