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Japan mascots’ life: Kinukake san (Kyoto)


Kinukake san

According to his own webpage: Kinukake-san is originally a ghost from the mid-Heian Era, more than a thousand years ago and occasionally visits his favorite haunts in the area around Kinukake-no-michi Road. If you see him, just call out “Kinukake-san!” and he’ll sidle right over!

kinukake road

Kinukake-san does have his moods, though. He’ll have a perfectly friendly discussion with one person, and then completely ignore the next person. So if he turns a deaf ear to you, don’t take it personally.

One group that Kinukake-san is unlikely to ignore is women, since he was quite the playboy in his former life. If he casually asks for your messenger app username, don’t fall for it.

Also, don’t be shocked by his trademark Kyoto dialect and brusque style. He’s known to suddenly call someone out, Kyoto style, with one of his favorite epithets. Among the milder ones: “Why, you little pipsqueak!” and “Hey, Stupid!”

That said, Kinukake-san can be a good sport. He joins other marathon fans in front of Ninna-ji Temple to urge on the athletes in the Kyoto Marathon every February, passing out KINUKAKESAN stickers and WISH THEM LUCK candies to the cheering onlookers.

Kinukake-san was an actual, historical figure, born in the mid-Heian Era, in 894 AD. Heir to a family of Kyoto aristocrats, Kinukake-san spent his youth in hedonistic pursuits, especially with young ladies. Unfortunately, one of these dalliances is believed to have sent Kinukake-san to an early grave: a woman he hurt turned to an occult practitioner called an Onmyoji to make Kinukake-san pay with his life.
Although Kinukake-san’s body was buried at the foot of Mt. Kinugasa, his soul could never rest because he had such a lust for life in the temporal world. As legend has it, he recast his spirit as an apparition, and headed back to his old haunts.
Only Kinukake-san himself knows if all the talk of his past is true, and he’s not saying. However, now that the people of the area have brought him back to life as the campy “yuru-chara” mascot for Kinukake-no-michi Road, it’s always easy to see what he’s up to. These days, Kinukake-san is living a pretty active life for a thousand year-old man.

He also has his own Youtube channel : https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC4XGMf9yKFIXZ_pEs9gfzRg

https://kinukake.com/en/kinukakesan.html