FUKUOKA -- Illustrations of popular bear mascot Kumamon in which the local symbol encourages people to follow viral prevention measures through pictures and hashtags saying "wash hands," "open window" and "keep distance" have been released by the Kumamoto Prefectural Government in southwestern Japan.
As a special measure to improve awareness on how to avoid contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus, hospitals, schools and others can use the illustrations for free on their websites and posters to inform people so long as they report their usage to the prefectural government. Japanese and Chinese versions, both also sporting English, have been prepared. Ordinarily, use of illustrations featuring Kumamon requires permission from the prefectural government.
Kumamon's official account tweeted: "First of all they (prevention measures) are for you, and then also for the people around you and everyone else. Let's protect our lives and the lives of those we love."
The illustrations and a document for reporting intended usage can be downloaded from the prefectural government's official website at https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/kiji_32123.html (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Emi Aoki, Kyushu News Department)