Sports Mascots from Around the World

This handout picture taken by Osaka prefectural government on April 17, 2014 shows Osaka prefecture's official mascot for sports affairs "Moppy" which is inspired by a native bird in Osaka. Dozens of state-funded cuddly mascots could be culled in western Japan after a local authority found the public doesn't recognize many of them, as managers look to rein in an obsession with cuteness. Thousands of "yuru-kyara" ("laid-back characters") have been created all over Japan by police, traffic safety officials, tax offices, libraries and even jails in a bid to press home various messages to a public particularly susceptible to oversized puppets. Osaka prefecture has decided it is time for a cull, and is looking to trim its stable of 45 yuru-kyara to concentrate its efforts on a few more-recognisable offerings.

( OSAKA PREFECTURAL GOVERNMENT / AFP/Getty Images / May 8, 2014 )

This handout picture taken by Osaka prefectural government on April 17, 2014 shows Osaka prefecture's official mascot for sports affairs "Moppy" which is inspired by a native bird in Osaka. Dozens of state-funded cuddly mascots could be culled in western Japan after a local authority found the public doesn't recognize many of them, as managers look to rein in an obsession with cuteness. Thousands of "yuru-kyara" ("laid-back characters") have been created all over Japan by police, traffic safety officials, tax offices, libraries and even jails in a bid to press home various messages to a public particularly susceptible to oversized puppets. Osaka prefecture has decided it is time for a cull, and is looking to trim its stable of 45 yuru-kyara to concentrate its efforts on a few more-recognisable offerings.

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