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Developing Language through culture with YURUKYARA

A series of activities exploring the topic of Yuru-kyara, culminating with a creative writing task ‘Create your own ゆるキャラ’


ゆるキャラ=ゆるい+キャラクター (Loose Characters)

Yuru-kyara (ゆるキャラ), literally ‘loose characters’, are cute, friendly and sometimes bizarre mascots created in Japan by government organizations, local governments, companies and individuals for the purpose of public relations. In recent years, more and more local governments (prefectures and municipalities) are competing to create their own yuru-kyara. Public awareness campaigns also often use yuru-kyara to promote their message. Japan is presently experiencing a yuru-kyara boom.

There is even a ‘Yuru-kyara Grand Prix’ held every year. The winner in the year 2012 was Bary-san, promoting Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture, and in 2013 Sanomaru, promoting Sano City in Tochigi Prefecture.

2012年 バリイさん(愛媛県今治市)

2013年 さのまる(栃木県佐野市)

Why have YURUKYARA become popular?

Yuru-kyara have a major economic effect on their regional area. After the victory of Kumamon (from Kumamoto Prefecture) in the 2011 Yuru-kyara Grand Prix , Kumamon’s face appeared on 6,000 different goods sold by local businesses. That year, sales of Kumamon goods doubled from the previous year’s total to $30 million.
Search further for reasons …..

Yurukyara Articles 2012-2013 (Word 108KB)

Activity 1


Show some Yuru-kyara pictures or movies, or let students search for and show images.

Teacher talk


Link: (ゆるきゃらグランプリ オフィシャルwebサイト)

Activity 2

As we do not have permission to display the missing images in the task sheet on our website, please search for these Yuru-kyara images, and cut and paste them into the task sheet yourself.

Handout (Word 456KB)

Activity 3


  1. Why do you think yuru-kyara and their goods are so popular in Japan today?
  2. What are the main features of yuru-kyara?
  3. Are there any kinds of yuru-kyara in Australia?
Yurukyara Discussion (Word 26KB)

Creative Task

  1. Brainstorm your original yuru-kyara in groups.
  2. Think about it’s design, name, favourite things and where it comes from.Think about your mission and the reason for creating your yuru-kyara.
  3. Create a slogan and poster to introduce your yuru-kyara.
  4. Give a presentation.

Resource created by Yasuhiro Nakagawa (July 2014).

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