Before you read my long writing, if you like to watch youtube video instead of reading a piece of work below, you may watch my video about this topic: why kumamon is so popular? Below. My video actually is also funny as my writing, haha..
You may watch on youtube by clicking here.
Now people in the world must know kumamon from Kumamoto prefecture. It has been very famous since 2012, and I think it’s as popular as other cartoon characters such as hello kitty and pikachu. Besides, kumamon has attracted many visitors coming to Kumamoto prefecture for visits, and it has revitalized the economy of Kumamoto prefecture, and created many job opportunities for local people there. I think it’s worth to study the success of kumamon, and what we can learn from this success.
Many writers are saying the success of kumamon due to its marketing strategies, particularly the free licensing marketing strategies that allow companies to use the icon of kumamon free of charge. However, I think we also have to look at the context that what happened in Japan during the rise of this big, fat bear, especially between 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, the sales of kumamon items were just about 2.5 billion yen whereas, in 2012, the sales of kumamon items were 29.3 billion yen. I think it is worth knowing more about what happened in these 2 years in Japan that resulted in the popularity of this cute bear.
I think “311 tsunami and earthquake “was a big factor contributing to the success of kumamon. Visitors all over the world were afraid of radiation that didn’t go to Tokyo, or Tohoku region, but going to the south for travelling. It had created many more opportunities for people to get to know kumamon. At the same time, the extension of Kyushu railway helps other Japanese of other prefectures to travel in Kyushu way more easily.
Besides, since 2012, the drop of yen had seduced more Asian visitors to come to Japan, especially Kumamoto prefecture, as they could buy cheaper yen and travel around Japan. They were also afraid of radiation as there were many news report in different countries that it might affect the growth of kids if they got exposed with too much radiation near Tohoku region. And it was easy for Japanese companies to export the products related to kumamons and let the world know more about it. As many companies were allowed to use the icon of kumamon free of charge, and at that time, many companies had to cut their budget due to economic recession, it is kind for convenient to use kumamon for the promotor of their products to save cost for companies.
Of course, the marketing strategies made by Kumamoto government play a big part in the success of kumamon. For example, they have sent kumamon to visit many kindergartens and elementary schools to make the kids falling in love with it, so that kids would ask their parents to buy kumamon-related goods for them. Moreover, Kumamoto governor, Ikuo kabashima, sent kumamon to Osaka and helped promote places of interest in Osaka. It helped created rapport with Osaka people that they like to travel to Kumamoto prefecture in return for the favor.
Last but not last, Kumamoto governor brought kumamon to visit different countries, in order to increase the exposure of the mascot. It is rare for Japanese governor to do it as it sounds not formal.
Anyway, these are what I think why kumamon has been successful. Perhaps I may skip many details of it, as I am not a business professional. Please leave your comment and let me know your thought ^^