Where the mascot is king:
Mascots, known locally as yuru-kyara ("loose" or "relaxed" characters), are ubiquitous in Japan, and are used to promote everything from soap, food and train lines, to regions of Japan and even prisons. They come in every conceivable shape and size, including some downright bizarre creations, and are often conceived of and designed by amateurs, a fact that is often all too apparent.Well, this would explain Pokemon...
But despite the oftentimes amateur nature of some of these beloved characters, it's safe to say that Japan is truly enamored -- or obsessed, to quote one editorial -- with these guys.
Noriko Nakano of the Japan Local Character Association told CNN by email that the Japanese have a long-lasting, deep emotional bond to "non-human" characters, with roots buried deep in an ancient polytheism.