Tag: ‘Marketing’

Cute ‘Pluto-kun’ cartoon dispels plutonium fears

29 Mar 2011

In the early 1990s, Japan's Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC) -- a nuclear energy research organization which is now part of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) -- created a pro-nuclear PR cartoon entitled "Pluto-kun, Our Reliable Friend." The aim of the animated film, which features the company mascot Pluto-kun, is to dispel some of the fears surrounding plutonium. Scroll down for a rough summary.


+ Video

[~1:30] The video begins with Pluto-kun disguised as a ghost. He explains that much of the fear surrounding plutonium is due to misconceptions. He says that it is very unfortunate that plutonium is used in nuclear weapons [like the one dropped on Nagasaki]. But he hates war! He loves to work for peace. He aspires to be like dynamite, whose power has been used for the benefit of mankind.

[1:30] Pluto-kun provides some basic information about plutonium. He explains that plutonium is created from uranium in nuclear reactors. He also says it was discovered by the US scientist Glenn T. Seaborg in 1940, and that it was named after the dwarf planet Pluto. (See Wikipedia for more.)

[2:30] Misconception #1 -- Pluto-kun addresses the fear that criminals could obtain plutonium and build a nuclear weapon. He explains two reasons why this would be virtually impossible. First, weapons require plutonium with a purity of at least 93%, but plutonium from reactors is only about 70% pure. A high level of technology would be required to produce weapons from this plutonium. Second, a high level of security is maintained around plutonium in Japan, making it all but impossible to steal.

Pluto-kun -- Pluto-kun --

[4:00] Misconception #2 -- Pluto-kun addresses the fear that plutonium is deadly and causes cancer. Plutonium's danger to the human body stems from the alpha radiation it emits. Because alpha radiation is relatively weak, it does not penetrate the skin, and plutonium is not absorbed into the body if it comes into contact with skin. He explains that you would not die instantly if you were to drink plutonium. If swallowed, the vast majority simply passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. If it enters the blood stream (through a cut, for example) it cannot be removed easily from the body. It accumulates in the lymph nodes before ending up in the bones or liver, where it continues emitting alpha radiation. Plutonium can also get into the liver or bones if it is inhaled into the lungs. It is important not to breathe it in or allow it to enter the blood stream.

[6:00] No human is ever known to have died because of inhaling or ingesting plutonium.

[7:00] Pluto-kun explains what would happen if criminals dumped plutonium into a reservoir that provides our drinking water. Plutonium is heavy and it does not dissolve easily in water, so most of it would sink to the bottom. Even if you were to drink plutonium-laced water everyday, the vast majority of it would simply pass through the digestive system without being absorbed by the body.

Pluto-kun -- Pluto-kun --

[7:30] Pluto-kun suggests that the dangers of plutonium are often overemphasized, making it seem scarier than it actually is. He explains that most people associate plutonium with deadly radiation and nuclear weapons, but he likens this to a fear of non-existent ghosts.

[9:40] Pluto-kun explains that he is not a monster, and he asks you to understand who he truly is. As long as people use him peacefully and with care, there will never be any danger or anything to fear. He will provide an endless source of energy for a long time to come. He will be a reliable friend.

Fake vintage Japanese ad mascots

01 Mar 2011

Argentina-based artist Juan Molinet has created a series of fictional Japanese ads featuring retro-style characters.

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Osaka's Marshmellow Kid

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Nagoya Sweet Salami Co.

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Sumitomo Calamari Ice Cream

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Cheesus by Hokama Good Cheese Co.

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Kyoto Seafood Processing Co.

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Satoyama Whistle Co.

Fake vintage Japanese ad character by Juan Molinet --
Hokaido Industrial Sushi Food Co.

[Link]

Pachimon playing cards

23 Feb 2011

In the early 1970s, the Kewpie Corporation (maker of Kewpie brand mayonnaise) produced a deck of promotional playing cards featuring various pachimon kaiju (imitation monsters modeled after creatures from popular movies and TV shows).

Pachimono playing cards -- Pachimono playing cards --
1 -- Kyuradorosu (vampire monster)/ Height: 5 meters/ Weight: 800 kilograms/ From Chiba
2 -- Kashuasu (pollution monster)/ Height: 10 meters/ Weight: 3,000 tons/ From Osaka

Pachimon playing cards -- Pachimon playing cards --
3 -- Gohoho (ice monster)/ 18m/ 10,000 tons/ From the South Pole, moved to Tokyo
4 -- Altamegaro (space monster)/ 35m/ Weight unknown/ From Alta W, planet 5

Pachi playing cards -- Pachi playing cards --
5 -- Deredoron (pesticide monster)/ 20m/ 10,000 tons/ From Tohoku
6 -- Tapikurosaurus (ancient monster)/ 35m/ 9,000 tons/ From Kyushu

Pachimon playing cards -- Pachimon playing cards --
7 -- Elekipurosu (electric humanoid)/ 25m/ 15,000 tons/ From Kurobe Dam
8 -- Meji (space wolf)/ 16m/ 5 tons/ From Meteoroid R

Pachimono playing cards -- Pachimono playing cards --
9 -- Eru (space monster)/ 32m/ 18,000 tons/ From the planet Pegasus
10 -- Puradon (space monster)/ 32m/ 5,000 tons/ From Galaxy W, planet 8

Pachi playing cards -- Pachi playing cards --
J -- Mambaa (monster fish)/ 20m/ 15,000 tons/ From the Arctic depths
Q -- Oapiaa (proto-Saharan)/ 6m/ 1 ton/ From the Sahara Desert

Pachimon playing cards -- Pachimon playing cards --
K -- Alien Achiira (space monster)/ 15m/ 9 tons/ From the planet Achiira, moved to Japan Alps
1 -- Methanoron (pollution monster)/ 28m/ 30,000 tons/ From Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama area

See more pachi-kaiju playing cards »

LED-powered Harajuku smiles

17 Jan 2011

A commercial promoting the Laforet Grand Bazar winter sale in Harajuku (January 20-24) features a mob of people with flickering LED-illuminated smiles who overrun a dramatic love scene reminiscent of a popular '90s-era TV show.

Geee - Harajuku Love Story --

The ad -- entitled "Geee / Harajuku Love Story" -- makes use of wirelessly-controlled Mouth LED technology developed by artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi.


+ Video

Here is a rough translation of the dialogue that takes place as the smiling mob approaches.

[Man]: We can make it work. I'll do my best.
[Woman]: Will you come to see me if I get lonely at night, no matter what?
[Man]: I will go immediately. I'll fly.
[Woman]: Will you come and pick me up if I call you from Mt. Everest?
[Man]: I'll fly there right away.
[Woman]: Will you bring me hot nabe soup if I ask for it?
[Man]: I will. I'll bring a year's worth.
[Woman]: What if I asked you to take me to the moon?
[Man]: That might be difficult...
[Woman]: That's not good enough.
[Man]: But I can make you happy.

The commercial appears to have been inspired by an earlier project by Manabe and Ishibashi entitled "Party in the Mouth," which featured a mob of women with glowing LED smiles wandering the streets of Tokyo at night.


+ Video

Here is some video from the Laforet website:


+ Video

Evolta mascot robot walking from Tokyo to Kyoto

22 Sep 2010

As a publicity stunt to demonstrate the durability of Evolta batteries, Panasonic's mascot robot is hiking the historic 500-kilometer (300-mi) Tōkaidō Road from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Evolta robot -- Evolta robot --
Evolta World Challenge III: Kyoto or bust! -- Photos via Sankei News

The Evolta humanoid, whose new design is meant to resemble an ancient highway traveler pulling a two-wheeled cart, measures 17 centimeters (7 in) tall and 40 centimeters (16 in) long. Constructed mostly of lightweight plastic, carbon fiber and titanium, the robot weighs about 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs). It is powered by 12 AA batteries and operated by remote control, and it can travel at a rate of 3 to 5 kilometers per hour (2-3 mph). If all goes according to schedule, the robot will complete the journey on December 10, after 49 days of walking.

Tokaido route --
On the 500-km Tōkaidō Road from September 23 to November 10, 2010

The Evolta robot is no stranger to endurance challenges. In May 2008 the battery-powered mascot climbed a 530-meter (1,740-ft) rope suspended from a Grand Canyon cliff, and in August 2009 it drove non-stop for 24 hours around the Le Mans race circuit, covering a distance of 23.7 kilometers (14.8 mi). Each feat earned the robot a Guinness World Record.

Evolta robot -- Evolta robot --
Evolta robot at Grand Canyon (2008) // Evolta robot at Le Mans (2009)

The current and previous versions of the humanoid were created by renowned roboticist Tomotaka Takahashi, founder of Kyoto University's Robo-Garage. The new robot features a hamster wheel-like design to facilitate movement over uneven surfaces, as well as a handcart that holds batteries. The batteries will be recharged once per day throughout the course of the journey.

Evolta robot --
Artist rendition of Evolta robot on Tōkaidō Road (2010)

The 500-kilometer (300-mi) Tōkaidō Road, which runs between Nihonbashi bridge in Tokyo and Sanjō Ōhashi bridge in Kyoto, served as Japan's most important transport artery during the Edo period. During its heyday in the 17th to 19th centuries, the road was one of the busiest highways in the world. In those days, it typically took travelers about 10 to 12 days to walk the route, weather permitting.

Tokaido road, 1865 --
Tōkaidō Road photographed by Felice Beato in 1865

In the 17th century, the Tokugawa shogunate set up 53 post stations along the route, where travelers could find food, shelter and other services. These stations are perhaps best known through "The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō" series of woodblock prints by the great ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige, who first traveled the route in 1832.

Shinagawa on the Tokaido, ukiyo-e print by Hiroshige --
Shinagawa, the first station on the Tōkaidō Road (print by Hiroshige)

The landscape has changed a great deal since then, and many of the old post stations have developed into towns and cities. The Evolta robot plans to pass through at least one station per day during the trek.

All of the action is being broadcast live on Ustream (morning to afternoon, Japan time).


The robot will also be tweeting its progress (in Japanese) at @evoltatoukaidou.

[Link: Evolta World Challenge III]

Addictive ads, 1894-1954

14 Sep 2010

Here is a collection of Japanese advertisements for drinks and smokes (1894-1954).

Vintage ad --
Hero Cigarettes, 1894

Vintage ad --
Tokio Beer, 1896-1906

Vintage ad --
Chūyū Cigarettes, 1900

Vintage ad --
Peacock Cigarettes, 1902

Vintage ad --
Kabuto Beer, 1911

Vintage ad --
Dai Nippon Brewery Company, 1912

Vintage ad --
Kembang Beer (Sakura Beer export label), 1912-1916

Vintage ad --
Sakura Beer, 1924

Vintage ad --
Umegatani sake, 1926

Vintage ad --
Sakura Beer, 1928-1932

Vintage ad --
Cascade Beer, 1929

Vintage ad --
Yebisu Beer, 1930

Vintage ad --
Minori Cigarettes, 1930

Vintage ad -- Vintage ad --
"Tobacco Profits for National Defense" Week, 1930 // Hibiki Cigarettes, 1932

Vintage ad --
Urara Cigarettes, 1932

Vintage ad --
Kirin Beer, 1933

Vintage ad --
Zuigan sake, 1934

Vintage ad --
Takara shōchū, 1935-1938

Vintage ad --
Gekkeikan sake, 1935-1938

Vintage ad --
"Defense for country, tobacco for society" (South Kyoto Tobacco Sellers' Union), 1937

Vintage ad --
Sakura Beer, 1938

Vintage ad --
Kirin Beer, 1939

Vintage ad --
Anti-black market poster (violators face 3 years in prison, 50,000 yen fine), 1948

Vintage ad --
Message from Japan Monopoly Corporation, 1954

[Sources: Tabako Omoshiro Catalog Zukan (Kodansha, 1987) and Meiji/Taisho/Showa O-Sake No Hōkoku Graffiti (Kokusho, 2006)]

Medical woodblock prints from 19th-century Japan

06 Sep 2010

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) maintains a collection of 400 health-themed woodblock prints from 19th-century Japan. The collection -- which includes drug advertisements, illustrated instructions for treating and preventing contagious diseases, and visual guides to the human body -- offers a unique look at Japanese medical knowledge in the late Edo and early Meiji periods. Here are a few images from the collection.

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Ad for Kinder-Puwder, King of Pediatric Drugs -- Morikawa Chikashige, 1880 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Chasing measles away -- Utagawa Yoshimori, 1862

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Ten realms within the body -- Utagawa Kuniteru III, c. 1885 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Pills to cure toxic illnesses such as syphilis and gonorrhea -- Artist unknown, late 19th century

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Protective gods help good drugs fight evil disease -- Utagawa Yoshikazu, 1858 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Hōsō-e talisman print to ward off smallpox -- Artist unknown, c. 1849

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Ad for drug to improve handwriting and reading skills -- Utagawa Yoshitsuya, 1862

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Foods that can be eaten by measles patients -- Utagawa Yoshimori, 1860s

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Pregnancy guide -- Hamano Teisuke, 1880 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Eye, ear, nose and hand -- Ochiai Yoshiiku, c. 1865

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Defeating cholera -- Kimura Takejiro, 1886 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Hōsō-e talisman print to ward off smallpox -- Utagawa Toyohisa II, c. 1830

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Three mighty men conquering measles -- Ochiai Yoshiiku, 1870s [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Measles treatment -- Ochiai Yoshiiku, 1862

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Teaching on harmonious body and mind -- Utagawa Yoshikatsu, 1850 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Measles-themed hand game -- Utagawa Yoshitsuya, 1862

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Illustrated guide to parental obligations -- Utagawa Yoshitora, 1880 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Shinto god from Izumo province for preventing measles -- Taiso Yoshitoshi, 1862

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Seller of eyeglasses -- Katsushika Hokusai, c. 1811-1814

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Hōsō-e talisman print to ward off smallpox -- Utagawa Yoshitsuru, c. 1849

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Illustrated account of cholera prevention -- Taiso Yoshitoshi, 1877 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Bodily functions personified as popular kabuki actors -- Artist unknown, late 19th century [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Methods for preventing measles -- Utagawa Fusatane, 1858 [+]

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Defeating measles (personified as a child) -- Utagawa Yoshifuji, c. 1840

Health-themed ukiyoe print --
Pregnant women playing in summer heat (5 heads, 10 bodies) -- Utagawa Kunitoshi, 1881 [+]

[Link: UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection]

Hello Kitty spectacle in Tokyo Bay

17 Aug 2010

Gundam videographer darwinfish105 has captured some dazzling footage of the 8-meter-tall laser-shooting Hello Kitty spectacle at Odaiba Beach, which has appeared as part of a campaign to promote tree-planting activities in Tokyo.


+ Video

The event, which features periodic light and water shows, will continue through August 22.

99 cute trademarked characters from Japan

03 Aug 2010

Here is a collection of 99 cute characters summoned from the depths of the Japanese Figure Trademark Database. These friendly critters appear in a variety of settings ranging from company logos and promotional materials to product packaging and advertising.

Cute Japanese character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese mascot --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Kawaii Japanese character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese idol -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese logo -- Kawaii Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese promotional mascot --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese idol -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese logo -- Kawaii Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese mascot --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese promotional character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese idol -- Cute Japanese mascot --

Cute Japanese logo -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Kawaii Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese idol -- Cute Japanese promotional mascot --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese logo -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese logo -- Cute Japanese idol -- Cute Japanese mascot --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese logo -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

Cute Japanese promotional character -- Kawaii Japanese character -- Cute Japanese promotional mascot --

Cute Japanese logo -- Cute Japanese character -- Cute Japanese character --

This collection represents only a small portion of the figurative trademarks found in the Japanese Figure Trademark Database. To explore the contents, go to the search page and plug in the Vienna Classification category numbers for the type of figure you would like to see.

The database does not provide explanatory information about the characters, nor does it indicate the names of the companies that employ them.

[Thanks to Japanese Trademarks for pointing the way!]