Sep 11

RocketNews24: Scowling mascot brings a little fame to Japan’s least popular prefecture

Michelle Lynn Dinh (Shimane-ken, Chibu-mura, 2010–13) is an editor and writer for RocketNews24, a Japan-based site dedicated to bringing fun and quirky news from Asia to English speaking audiences.

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Yoshida-kun, Shimane Prefecture’s snarky and very unhappy-looking mascot

Shimane Prefecture, ever heard of it? If your answer is a resounding “no,” you’re not alone. The oddly shaped prefecture stretching along the western coast of Japan is barely known within its own country, let alone abroad. But one disgruntled mascot is out to bring Shimane’s shortcomings to light, making fun of the prefecture’s lack of popularity and population, and giving the area a little boost in positive publicity online.

For the 95 percent of you who don’t know, Shimane is a prefecture in the Chugoku region of Japan. Its claim to fame is having the most elderly people of any other prefecture and the most centenarians. Year after year, Shimane battles it out with neighboring Tottori for the title of “least populated prefecture” and has repeatedly landed itself at the very bottom of lists ranking areas by popularity.

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