Kumamoto: Giant Kumamon Statue Shows Mask-Free Smile

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A worker removes Kumamon’s mask in Kumamoto City on May 8.

KUMAMOTO — Visitors can now see a giant statue of Kumamoto Prefecture’s official mascot without his mask. The statue of Kumamon in the prefectural capital now reveals his smile for the first time in three years.

An event to remove the mask from the roughly 4-meter-tall statue was held on May 8 at Sakura Machi Kumamoto, a commercial facility in central Kumamoto City.

On the day, the legal classification of COVID-19 was downgraded to Category V, the same level as the seasonal flu, under the Infectious Diseases Law, and the face of Kumamon was fully shown for the first time since May 2020.

Shoppers and passersby gathered to look at the smiling mascot as a worker took off the large cloth mask from the statue, which is located on the facility’s fifth-floor terrace.

“We hope to see everyone smile like Kumamon,” said the facility operator’s 48-year-old head of sales promotion.