Supposedly it’s a bad idea to judge a book by its cover. With this particular volume, however, doing just that is highly recommended. This is because the rich and colorful design on the outside is the perfect introduction to the varied and detailed tour of the fuzzy, furry, odd and wonderful Japanese mascots within. “Fuzz & Fur” is the second book about Japanese pop-culture icons by English brothers Edward and John Harrison. Their first book, “Idle Idol”, was a photographic guide to the inanimate figures which attract and greet customers outside Japanese shops and restaurants. “Fuzz & Fur” takes that premise and logically expands upon it by using pictures and detailed text to introduce the reader to a huge variety of animated, three-dimensional Japanese characters, basically guys in costumes playing fictional or mythological figures.
Here in the United States, at least, when you think of a person in a character costume, you typically think of a sports mascot, something like the Philly Phanatic or the San Francisco 49ers mascot Sourdough Sam. Or you see giant mice and anthropomorphic dogs, rabbits and ducks at amusement parks created by entertainment companies such as Disney and Warner Brothers. But that’s about it. However, in Japan fuzzy, furry costumed characters are far more ubiquitous, and are created and used for a wider variety of purposes than just promoting sports and entertainment. Japanese mascots are used to promote tourism, consumer products, government programs, and agriculture.