Regional mascots have become so popular in Japan that it’s almost as if every city and town in the country has a charming character representing them. But with so many mascots it’s become increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially with the presence of super famous characters like Kumamon, Funassyi, and Sento-kun. When it comes to leaving a strong impression, however, the yurukyara (literally translated as “gentle character”) for the town of Fukusawa in Hyogo Prefecture easily takes the cake.

Source: Yurukyara

Known as Gajiro, this character is far from gentle. Gajiro is a kappa — famous yōkai demons from Japanese folklore said to lure people into rivers and drown them. As though his physical appearance weren’t bloodcurdling enough, Gajiro’s story is that he hides in rivers and attacks playing children, taking their shirikodama (a mythical organ located inside the anus, said to contain the soul) and leaving them limp and lifeless. All things considered, it isn’t hard to see why kids start bawling when they see him.

He’s so terrifying, in fact, that Fukusawa’s promotional video is a 23-minute-long (comical) horror movie.

But like all kappa, Gajiro isn’t entirely evil.

Looking out for his hungry fans, Gajiro sells delicious boil-in-bag "kappa curry." He says the curry contains shirakodama, but we know they’re just quail eggs.

On the path toward unparalleled fame, it's only a matter of time before Gajiro starts lurking into our nightmares, too.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.