With Fuzz and Fur: Japan's Costumed Characters, Edward and John Harrison delve into another bizarre and cute niche of Japanese popular culture by interviewing and photographing the men and women that create a niche in the phenomenon of kigurumi, which roughly means “dressing up as a stuffed toy.” While adoration for mythical creatures and popular anime characters is nothing new in Japan, this pastime has created a new marketing tool for local government institutions: yuru-kyara. Roughly translated as “amateur characters,” yuru-kyara are costumes based on local attractions and points of interest that help define any given area. Through a strange amalgam of hometown pride and cost-saving measures, municipalities often tap their citizens to design the characters. The same citizen enthusiasts also convene yuru-kyara conventions of their own, and give life to another aspect ofJapan’s enigmatic, yet utterly captivating, visual culture.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Brothers Edward and John Harrison are the authors of Fuzz and Fur and Idle Idol, two looks at contemporary uses of mascot in Japan. Edward Harrison is a designer and illustrator living in Tokyo. He enjoys taking photographs of strange signs and rusty Kanji. When not creating his own characters for clients including Adidas, Redbull, and Eurostar, he likes to track down and document Japanese mascots. John Harrison is a designer and illustrator living in London. When not creating websites and animations for clients including Myspace and Nickelodeon, he likes to try and avoid injuring himself while cycling and learning Taekwondo.