Okayama: Hero Ogre Fights for Prefectural Government

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Oka-Liger raises his fists, vowing to protect the lives of local residents, at the Okayama prefectural government building.

OKAYAMA — An unusual hero tasked with promoting measures implemented by the Okayama prefectural government has created a buzz on the internet.

The character of Oka-Liger was created by the prefectural government to communicate its measures to people of all ages through YouTube and other tools. He wears a red, full-face mask with horns and a leather jacket, as well as denim jeans— Okayama Prefecture is a major domestic producer of denim.

Okayama is also known as the home of “Momotaro,” a famous Japanese folktale about a boy born out of a peach who goes to an island to fight ogres, accompanied by a dog, a monkey and a pheasant. Oka-Liger was based on the idea that one of the defeated ogres, named Ura, has been resurrected as a hero who solves people’s problems.

In the first video featuring Oka-Liger, he sees people suffering from sneezing and itchy eyes due to attacks by pollen monsters and conquers the monsters by learning from a project to plant cedar and cypress trees that have a low pollen content. The project has been promoted by Okayama’s Research Institute for Forest and Forest Products.

The prefectural government plans to use the character to publicize various measures and raise public awareness of social issues, by creating more videos on such topics as the appeal of nursing care work and the digitization of tax payment procedures.