Image used for illustrative purposes

Announcement of Don Quijote’s beloved mascot being changed has Japanese shoppers in shock

If you've ever traveled in Japan, even if you've never stepped foot inside one, you've almost certainly had the shining lights and blaring cheerful music of a Don Quijote catch your attention. Don Quijote is a major discount chain that operates all around the country, known for its low prices and wide variety of goods.

Often called "Donki" for sort, the chain has a bustling theme-park like interior and carries just about anything you can think of (food, cosmetics, clothing, adult goods, furniture, etc.), making it a convenient shopping hub, as well as popular souvenir stop for foreign visitors.

Donki is also known for its popular mascot character, Donpen, a Santa-hat wearing penguin. At least, it was! Much to the shock, surprise, and frustration of many around Japan, Don Quijote has announced that they will be changing the beloved mascot to a new one--Dojou-chan, an anthropomorphic mascot representation of a Japanese alphabet character.

Left: Donpen, Right: Dojou

Don Quijote has ditched the happy-go-lucky penguin character for a mascot shaped like the Japanese katakana alphabet character "ド ("Do").

The reasoning for the mascot switch is rooted in Japanese. Don Quijote says they are making the change because they want more people to know about their "Passionately Priced" (情熱価格, Jounetsu Kakaku) brand of goods.

In Japanese, Dojou-chan's name is written as "ド情ちゃん", which combines "ド" (the "do" in "Don Quijote" ドン・キホーテ) with the character "情", which carries the meaning of "emotion" or "passion" used in their Passionately Priced brand. When you consider Do ("ド") is also used as a slang suffix in Japanese to mean "highly" or "super", you even get a bit of a pun with the mascot's name possibly meaning "Super Passionate."

Phew! Got it?

Many have expressed sadness over the sudden change--but the plot thickens. Some are speculating that this is part of a big joke, as within the Twitter thread of the announcement, Donpen himself slams the decision and an account claiming to be the head of store says they knew nothing of it and are investigating--all of which the actual Don Quijote account has acknowledged by Retweeting.

Whether it's an angle or not, however, the replies are filled with comments from shoppers shocked by the announcement:

"No way...Donpen is Don Quijote! That's so sad..."

"I'm going to have to buy some Donpen merch while it's available."

"It's actually kinda funny that the name is so straightforward now."

By - grape Japan editorial staff.