It’s that time of the year again – the time when people come together to cast a vote on their favorite mascots. This time, the first-ever Bus Character Championship will be held, giving every prefecture’s bus mascot a chance to be voted for by people online. Though most of these mascots are not that popular as there is a huge number of mascots in the country, winning this competition will give the winner an opportunity to shine in the spotlight and be known for a bigger cause.
— 工学院大学/Kogakuin Univ. (@kogakuin_koho) April 14, 2017
Mascots are essential marketing tools often used to promote tourism in Japan. They’re cute yet considered master salesmen as they can bring in several customers, especially those who like a particular character. Some of these mascots represent certain buses in the country in order to draw the crowd. Other represents towns, cities, banks, government agencies, products, and the like. With proper technique and hard work, mascots can help a business generate billions of income.
Once a mascot becomes popular and is able to capitalize on its title, it can grow into a multi-million yen brand and can be internationally recognized. However, there are certain guidelines to be followed. They have to convey love to their local area or town, they should have a unique movement or behavior, and they should also be laid back as well as lovable! Everything about them has to be cute.
There are just too many mascots in Japan that they even have their own database with their corresponding geographic locations.
— バスとりっぷ (@bustrip_news) June 3, 2017
There are many mascot events in Japan such as the biggest and the ever-popular Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix (ゆるキャラ®グランプリ) where you can find thousands of mascots from around the country. Another is the lesser-popular Regional Character General Election (ご当地キャラ総選挙) where people vote for the best regional mascot in the area. However, none of these have put a great effort into making bus mascots known. This is the reason why Bus Trip (バスとりっぷ), an information website, has started a unique event called the “Bus Character Championship.”
Bus mascots will compete according to their popularity. There was a total of 132 entries when nominations were called in, and the final candidate number has dropped to 12. If you’d like to cast your vote, you may do so here (Japanese only). Voting is only until June 14, 2017, so you better cast your vote now. Furthermore, a total of 10 voters will be chosen to receive a 1,000-yen Amazon gift card each as a way of thanking them for their participation.
Since people living in Japan normally use the bus in their daily lives, it is about time that they get to know the most popular bus mascot in the country. If you’d like to make a difference, you can start voting for the bus mascot you are in favor of. Who knows? The one you voted for just might be in luck of winning and catching a wave of popularity. Let’s just hope that the winner will be useful enough to draw travelers’ attention, especially with the expected influx of tourists to the country.
Bus Trip Website *Japanese only