Everyone loves Japan’s character mascots. Take Kumamon, for example. The mascot for the prefecture of Kumamoto is so popular it has appeared in the Yo-kai Watch 2 video game!
In fact, Kumamon is so popular even BTS‘s Suga loves him!
Alas, not all mascots are loved for being busakawaii (ugly cute). Sento-kun was designed in 2008 by a professor from the University of Tokyo and is meant to be the mascot for Nara, the capital city of Nara prefecture. Nara is known for the deer that freely roam the city, as well as for its 15 meters (roughly 49 feet) tall bronze Buddha.
With those two major things in mind, Sento-kun, the half-deer, half-Buddha was born.
While he wasn’t popular to begin with and received a lot of criticism from the media and netizens, as well as religious groups, however, in recent years, Sento-kun’s popularity has grown. After copy Kumamon’s copyright-free policy, Sento-kun’s popularity grew enough that it was now in third place at 70% popularity behind the iconic Kumamon (91%) and ever-popular Funassyi (88%).