Hyakuman-san, Ishikawa Prefecture’s mascot character for promoting the Hokuriku Shinkansen, debuted in 2013. In October that year, a ceremony was held at Yasue Hachimangu shrine in Kanazawa to pray that Hyakuman-san will be a hit. The design of Hyakuman-san is inspired by the Kaga Hachiman Okiagari doll, which originated from this shrine.
Those attending included art planner Chikara Kidera and creators of the mascot costume. The chief priest who led the prayer expressed a wish that the character will work hard over a long period for Ishikawa’s development.
At a press conference held before the ceremony, Hyakuman-san slowly spun around to show off the gorgeous designs painted on his round body, including the Ishikawa-mon gate of Kanazawa Castle and a Noto Kiriko lantern.
Ironically, Hyakuman-san cannot ride a Shinkansen himself, as his 130-centimeter girth is too wide for the doors. “But it’s OK if he can welcome visitors when they get off the Shinkansen,” one of the creators said. He is also working on mastering cute actions, and demonstrated an “OK!” pose in which he gives a thumbs-up and points his toes upward.