2016-12-27 09:40来源：未知 浏览数：
The Bear Who Earns Billions
On 14 April 2016, a 6.2-magnitude (震级) earthquake hit Japan's southernmost island of Kyushu (九州). Hundreds of aftershocks (余震) continued for days, killing 49 people, injuring 1,500 and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.
News spread immediately around the globe on social media. "Pray for Kumamoto & Kumamon," wrote Ming Jang Lee from Thailand, a phrase that would be repeated thousands of times. Kumamoto (熊本市) is a region of 700,000 in a largely agricultural province in southwestern Japan. But what, or more precisely, who is Kumamon?
相关新闻迅速在世界各个媒体上传开。泰国的Ming Jang Lee所写的“为熊本市和熊本君祈福”，这句话很快被成千上万次的重复。熊本市是日本西南部一个拥有70万人口的以农业为主的省份。但熊本君是啥？
About 1.5 meters tall, with black shiny fur, circular red cheeks and wide, staring eyes, Kumamon is a yuru-kyara, one of the cuddly (令人想抱的) creatures in Japan that represent everything from towns and cities to airports and prisons. The word is sometimes translated as "mascot (吉祥物)" in the West, but Kumamon has a far wider field of operation as the yuru-kyara for Kumamoto.
Six years ago, Kumamoto wasn't known for much. There is an active volcano?Mount Aso (阿苏山)?nearby, and a 1960s reproduction of a dramatic 1600s-era castle that burned down in 1877. Kumamoto residents believed there was nothing in their city that anyone would want to visit.
It was not until 2010, when Japan Railways was working to extend the Shinkansen (新干线) bullet train to Kumamoto, that the government officials decided to promote the area. They commissioned (委托创作) a logo and were offered a red exclamation point (感叹号) at first. Seeking to decorate it and knowing the popularity of yuru-kyara, the designer added a surprised black bear. Kumamon was born.
Now, over 100,000 products that feature Kumamon's image, from stickers and notebooks to cars and airplanes, are for sale in Japan. To get approval to use his image, companies are required to support Kumamoto, either by using locally made ingredients or by promoting the area on their packaging.
Three weeks after the 14 April earthquake,www.hwx11.com, Kumamon showed up again, as if a long-sought survivor had stumbled out of the ruins alive. The cute bear has become more than a strategy to push tourism and farm products. It also fills an emotional need.