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Candy designed after epidemic fighting folklore character tastes success in Tokyo

The candies designed after the Japanese folklore character Amabie are seen at the candy shop Kintaroame Honten in Tokyo's Taito Ward. (Mainichi/Minori Nagaya)

TOKYO -- A local candy shop here has released a sweet treat designed after a Japanese traditional folklore creature that is believed to answer prayers to end epidemics and has sold some 10,000 bags containing 10 of the candies.

Amabie is a "yokai" character similar to a mermaid that appeared in the Edo period (1603-1868). It became popular after the novel coronavirus struck Japan and is used by the health ministry as an icon to promote measures against infections.

Akio Watanabe, 51, the sixth president of the over 120-year-old shop Kintaroame Honten, heard in early April that the character was gaining popularity on the internet and the shop created the product using an illustration on the health ministry website as a reference.

The candy has developed a reputation of being "cute" and "refined." Some customers bought the sweets to send them to hospitals. Watanabe said, "Although the candy is not medicine, I hope people will keep it with them like as a charm for good luck."

(Japanese original by Minori Nagaya, City News Department)

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