An official X/Twitter account affiliated with Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently announced that their official mascot called Omaneko will be making a PR appearance at Kemoket, Japan’s largest “kemono” (furry/anthro) related comic fair. But what’s the deal with the furry mascot in the first place?
Now, Japanese businesses, and public institutions having official mascots for promotional purposes is nothing new, to the point of “Japan has a mascot for everything” becoming an often-heard stereotype. The “yurukyara” type of cute, intentionally “lazy” character designs are especially popular in recent years. It just so happens that a sub-base of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force in Omaezaki, Japan has its own set of mascots, but something about this particular character’s energy feels kind of different.
According to the JASDF’s website, Omaneko, member of the “Meow meow Police Force,” is a character based on Nekozuka, a historical landmark in Omaezaki. The character has an anthropomorphic cat design with blue and white fur, flushed cheeks and is illustrated wearing a camo jacket, lower half exposed. Another illustration of Omaneko appears to be entirely nude, though critical parts are hidden from view. The character is also apparently male, with a height of “176 cm or 40 meters.”
The JASDF’s initial reveal of Omaneko, as well as following illustrations of the character are the force’s most popular posts, gathering millions of views. The furry community can be seen thriving each time new content of the character is published, while others are full of questions, such as “Are those breasts or chest hair?” Unsurprisingly, a quick Google search of the character opens a world of suggestive and erotic fanart.
Apparently, all 14 of the sub-base’s official mascots, including Omaneko, were selected from submissions by members of the force themselves, so none of the designs are from an external source. Looking at the lineup of mascots, another character stands out from the rest of the marine, military and robot-themed designs – Hamu ChunChun, who appears to be an anthropomorphic mouse, shares similar vibes as Omaneko. Also a male, Hamu ChunChun is a member of the “Squeak squeak Police Force,” and has long bangs and braided hair, with his lower half likewise exposed.
Omaneko and Hamu ChunChun can often be seen drawn together (in any context you can imagine). One can’t help but think that the JASDF knows exactly what it’s doing with these mascots.