I was invited to a party given by a friend who is a Council Member of the Ichikawa City Council in Chiba. Maki Namiki’s blog can be found here detailing her activities. She is also planning to start using Twitter soon joining other Japanese Politicians who are using Twitter regularly.
In addition to the official speeches, Hawaiian Hula dancing, a magic show and live musical performances, Cheeba-kun made an appearance at the party which got everyone out of their seats to take photos and join in the fun.
Cheeba-kun (チーバくん) is the official mascot for the 2010 Yumehanto Chiba Kokutai Games (ゆめ半島千葉国体). These are a National athletics meet to be held between September 25th, 2010 and October 5th, 2010.
The character Cheeba-kun was made by Chiharu Sakazaki (さかざき ちはる), an illustrator, who also designed the Penguin character for the JR Suica cards. Here is an interview in Japanese with Chiharu Sakazaki.
The Mobile suica page in Japanese has lots of information but I could only find a Japanese version.
Cheeba-kun information on the web
- This blog is in Japanese, but it has some good photos of Cheeba-kun and goods made from his character.
- Here is a mascots’ blog showing Cheeba-kun very busy with activities around the Prefecture.
- Another Cheeba-kun Blog here with many photos of Cheeba-kun out promoting the Games.
- The Ichihara city blog for Cheeba-kun.
Official photographs, copyright issues?
One thing that surprised me when writing this post was the difficulty in finding official photographs of either the Suica Penguin or Cheeba-kun. The characters were created to publicize events and services. If the character does not get shown around and viewed by the masses then the campaign will not be effective.
It would be good to see an easy applicable copyright license for users to promote the character that is promoting the service in an effort to raise public awareness for campaigns.