FSA #10

In our class, we have discussed deconstructing mascots. Japan has a lot of mascots popularly known as yurukyara. Hikone City where we are staying has one called Hikonyan. It is one of those cute characters. Some of our students are huge fans. But we also want them to see those characters a bit more critically.

When we started questioning how such a character could still embody different ways in which various forms of power are exercised, it seemed like our students understood how a mascot is not just a mascot. In other words, a cute mascot is nonetheless is an attempt to revitalize local economy or tourism industry. It represents a certain part of the city but of course, not all. Having a yurukyara allows Hikone Castle to have more visitors but they may not be very interested in history or heritage. They’re simply there to see Hikonyan because they show up a few times a day there.

Of course, in a freshman class, you cannot analyze a cultural text too deeply but I think the class was a good start.

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