Funassyi : An Unofficial Character of Funabashi City Became Popular Across the Country

Funassyi is the unofficial mascot of Funabashi City in Chiba Prefecture. While the identity of the individual who wears the Funassyi costume is unknown, it is widely assumed that the person playing as the Funassyi mascot is also its creator. Funassyi has become quite popular in Japan, particularly among women and children, and even showed up at the Tokyo Girls Fashion Show to share the runway with a model. Funassyi has also released a CD and made appearances at multiple public events. While Funassyi is incredibly popular, it is not an official mascot of Funabashi City and the mascot can act freely in the Japanese show business industry. In addition, he released a calendar for 2015 with pictures taken by a prominent female photographer Mika Ninagawa.  For example, Funassyi appeared in a commercial of the popular grilled beef restaurant chain Gyukaku. Funassyi also has a strong personality for a mascot, often dancing and making jokes, which has greatly expanded its popularity. Especially given the mute personalities of many other mascots, Funassyi’s commentary is one of its most popular attributes – and saying nashi at the end of many sentences has become a trademark of Funassyi.

One of Funassyi’s main acts is to say “Nashi jiru pushu” while shooting itself into the air (Nashi means pear, jiru is juice, and pushu is the sound of emitting the juice). Many people find this incredibly funny, even though Funassyi doesn’t technically emit any pear juice during the action. There is also no precedent in Japan for anything like Funassyi – as claiming to be an official mascot of a city without any official organization support is very unique – which certainly helps the character’s personality. This is also one of the odd characteristics of Funassyi, as even though the character is not officially designated to promote the city of Funabashi the mascot continues to do so. Then over time people have gradually accepted the mascot more and more, with the mascot’s unique personality and balance of being both cute and funny. Funassyi also has an interesting back story, where according to the mascot Funassyi was born on July 4th 138 BC. This date was meant to coincide with the pronunciation of seven (nana) and four (shi), or nashi – while the mascot claims it’s given name is Funadeus the Fourth.  The mascot claims to be a pear fairy, sent on Earth by the God of Pears to promote the Japanese pear and help the country work its way out of the recent recession. The appearance of the mascot is supposed to be a miracle that occurs once every 2000 years, though the mission seems to be on pace to continue next year, as well.

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