First Look! “Fuzz & Fur: Japan’s Costumed Characters” Book Review

First Look! “Fuzz & Fur: Japan’s Costumed Characters” Book Review

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Fuzz & Fur: Japan's Costumed CharactersMascot character costumes are nothing new to American society. Indeed, all of our major theme parks have them. (Mickey Mouse anyone?)  Many large colleges and universities have them, which are seen at football games or other sporting events.  Heck, many professional sports franchises have them.  Some companies have them. (“Hey! Kool-Aid Man!”)  However, I think the Japanese have taken the mascot costume character to the next level.

With this in mind, a review copy of Edward and John Harrison’s newest book Fuzz & Furr: Japan’s Costumed Characters arrived at my door.  This book is a kind of sequel to their book Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot, which featured general marketing mascots from Gundam to Colonel Sanders to characters you’ve never heard of.  So for Fuzz & Fur, Edward and John focus exclusively on the costumed mascots around Japan from local municipalities.

After an introduction, whereby the authors give some background information on kigurumi, the Japanese word for costumed characters, Fuzz & Fur breaks down its look at kigurumi by region.  Chapter one covers Hokkaido. Chapter two covers Tohoku.  Chapter three covers the Kanto region (where I lived during my stay in Japan).  Chapter four covers Chubu.  Chapter five covers Kansai.  Chapter six covers Chugoku and Shikoku regions.  The final chapter covers Kyushu, which also includes Okinawa.

Each mascot featured gets at least a color picture featuring the mascot, a paragraph discussing the mascot, and some bullet point profile information about the mascot such as the specific prefecture/city/whatever that the mascot originates from, its sex, what it likes, dislikes, eats, etc.  Each mascot gets either a page or half-page, depending on how much information there is to tell about the character.  Some mascots also have drawn icon images which are also featured.  Over one hundred mascots are featured in the book.

It is clear that the authors (whom are twins as I understand it) have a great love of Japan and the Japanese culture.  This comes through in how the book is written and the photos used.  Since so many of these mascot characters have the “kun” or “chan” honorific attached to their names, Edward and John retain those (having provided some explanations during the introduction) and long-time readers of my blog know how much I support this.  Frankly, it would have been an insult to have changed anything and that does not happen here.

So, did I like this book?

Absolutely!  Having a love of Japan and Japanese culture myself, I found myself going through the entire book and then staying up to write this review instead of getting some sleep that I desperately need.  *lol*  I just enjoyed seeing all of these costumed mascots, reading up about them, and in the process learning just a little more about Japan.  At the same time, I also couldn’t help but think of Bonta-kun from Full Metal Panic (although that fictional mascot character was for a theme park rather than a local municipality).  ^_~

Fuzz & Fur is like a mini coffee table book and I suppose if the subject matter weren’t so niche, it could have been made into a large one.  Regardless, I plan on having this on my coffee table and will likely see about acquiring Idle Idol as well.  I think that those who have a love of Japan or things Japanese may well enjoy this book, not only for themselves, but for their coffee table’s as well.

You can visit the official Fuzz & Fur site, where I believe they will eventually be posting additional mascot characters.

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