Thursday, November 20, 2008
Ugly Antler-headed Buddha-child Mascot
Sento-kun (left) and Manto-kun (right)
from Top 60 popular Japanese words and phrases
Sento-kun/ Manto-kun (せんとくん／まんとくん): Sento-kun, the official mascot character for the Commemorative Events of the 1,300th Anniversary of the Nara-Heijokyo Capital, garnered widespread criticism from the media, religious groups and the blogosphere after he was unveiled in February. A Buddhist child monk with a rack of deer antlers sprouting from his head, Sento-kun is supposed to evoke the image of Nara’s rich Buddhist history and the wild deer that roam freely around town. But some citizens were angry at officials for shutting them out of the decision-making process and wasting 5 million yen (about $50,000) of taxpayer money on what they saw as an ugly mascot.