Mascot culture and the unique mascot of Gero city
To Gero city, any characteristic, strange animal chosen to be a mascot must leave a very big question mark for everybody.
A mascot animal is usually known through myths and legends - the species that symbolize power, mystery, along with a little fantasy, the result of human imagination.
The most famous mascot animals in history or folklore are usually the Dragon, the Kirin, the Tortoise and, the Phoenix – species that are large and able to demonstrate their power and authority.
However, there are also small, simple and familiar animals in daily life that have become the beauty of an area or a region.
And in Gero city in Japan, the green frog is such an animal.
The mascot culture in Japan
Japan is famous for many unique and creative mascots with a charming and close touch.
The mascot also demonstrates the character and specialty of each prefecture or region like the mascot of Fukaya – the top leek manufacturing city of the entire country - Fukka chan – a white rabbit wearing a leek hat.
Or the city of Nara with many old pagodas and little deers has created the mascot of Seto kun – the half-man, half deer arhat - which is a subtle combination of the 2 features of the city.
Apart from the different mascots of each region, there are also those with great spirituality like Maneki Neko – the waving cat that brings good fortune. Many people believe that if Maneki Neko waves with its right hand, it will bring luck, and if it waves with its right hand, it will bring many customers.
Nowadays, Maneki Neko is made in many different colors, each having a different meaning.
Or Daruma – the number one luck-wishing tumbler doll in Japan. The Daruma, with eyes wide open demonstrating power and steadfastness, is an essential thing in the lives of the people in The Land of the Rising Sun.
The mascot of Gero – the green frog
In Gero, there are no products related to the frog, yet the green frog was chosen to be the ambassador of travel of this city. How come?
Even though the frog is not a spiritual or mysterious animal, nor is it cute like the white rabbit or the brown bear. Then why did this region choose the frog to be the mascot?
The answer is that the frog is read "Kaeru" in Japanese, homonymous with the word "To come back, to return" (帰る). It means that no matter how far away you are, you'll eventually return to gather with your family or that visitors will always remember their hometown and feel the urge to come back.
Last but not least, Gero, right from its name - "gero" is known to be the frog's ribbit, so the fact that the frog is chosen to be a mascot seems quite reasonable.
Not only is a frog the mascot, but there is also a shrine to worship the frog god, which is the "kaeru jinja" – where people come to pray for a safe return.
As an ambassador of traveling, the image of a frog is a wonderful choice for the local stores.
It's not challenging to come across a frog on the signs of restaurants large and small.
Wherever you go, the image of a green frog would show up somewhere on the streets, drawing visitors' attention.
The meaning of the symbol
This green frog mascot contributes to marketing the local specialty and brings the locals and visitors together. It must be a charming and friendly ambassador of traveling, helping to boost the local income and create an intimate and exciting atmosphere for visitors.
The entire world of mascots in Japan is starting to become a unique and creative culture of The Land of the Rising Sun. Through that culture, people worldwide could learn more about this land's specialty, life, and culture in the most detailed and exciting way.
Personifying inanimate objects like fruits or vegetables to communicate with human beings has somewhat boosted the travel industry of Japan. Moreover, it contributes to depicting a lovely, appealing, and colorful Japan.
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