You may have noticed that Japan has a fondness for mascot characters, so much that they hold an annual competition to crown a national champion out of a pool of regional mascots. These mascots are often called Yurukyara--or Yuru Characters ("yuru" means gentle), and they typically sport aesthetic features based off of what their particular region is famous for. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Shibuya's new mascot takes on an appearance honoring the famous and loyal Hachiko--an Akita dog who faithfully waited for his tragically deceased owner to return from work.

What may surprise you is that the new mascot character of Shibuya is a pink piece of Hachiko's poop.

Soft Kuriinu, a new regional mascot for Shibuya, represents his hometown anthropomorphically and has a name that is a Japanese play on words, like other mascots before him. Soft serve ice cream in Japan is called "soft cream", and as you can tell by his curly poop-emoji shape, he looks like he was just poured out like soft serve. "Inu" means dog in Japanese, so you add that to the end of "soft cream" and you get Soft Kuriinu--a soft serve dog poop. So how do we know he is Hachiko's poop? Well, he sometimes wears a sash that says "chuken unko", or "loyal dog poop" (with the "ko" in "unko" deliberately changed to the "ko" in "Hachiko") and he has a habit of taking up space right behind the famous Hachiko statue--as in right under the dog's butt. His Twitter handle also flatly reads "poop" in Japanese, so I think we can close the file on any fecal ambiguity here!

According to his Twitter profile, pictures, and videos, Soft Kuriinu is definitely promoting cleanliness and keeping the streets of Shibuya pristine and welcoming--despite himself being a blob of poop. He's got a pink brush that he uses to sweep up the streets of Shibuya and as far as Harajuku, and demonstrates how to pick up after your dog when you take them for a walk (there are signs reminding you to do this all over Japan, but maybe it has more impact when you see poop pick up poop).

While this definitely isn't Japan's first mascot to look like poop, it may be the first (that's a rather big "may be") one to deliberately look like a piece of crap.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.