Fukushima Industries Corporation (福島工業), a freezer/refrigerator maker located in Osaka, may have made an unintentional f*ck-up, with the creation of their new mascot, Fukuppy. Fukuppy is a merry little figure, that appears to be a winged egg with bright red shoes. In Japanese, the mascot’s name has no particular meaning but when written in English or pronounced as English, it sounds an awful lot like “fuck-uppy” of “fucked puppy.”
It has been incorrectly reported that the character was created as a mascot for Fukushima Prefecture which suffered a triple nuclear meltdown in March of 2011—largely due to the f*ckups of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government which was supposed to oversee the nuclear industry, not be its cheerleader. The nuclear disaster there is still an ongoing crisis. The company has no direct links to Fukushima Prefecture. The founder of the company, Nobuo Fukushima (福島信夫) has the same family name and kanji characters as Fukushima Prefecture (福島県). The firm was founded in 1951.
The text above the illustration of Fukuppy, announces that he was born as a corporate character for Fukushima Industries. He introduces himself as “Fukuppy” and says the Japanese equivalent of pleased to meet you, “よろしく（yoroshiku)”. The meaning for “yorishiku” could also be taken as “please be nice to me”. Unfortunately, that request has fallen on deaf ears in the Western world.
For those of you who can’t get enough of Fukuppy and especially for those who could care less, here’s everything you never wanted to know and didn’t ask.
Where was Fukuppy born?
I was born in the refrigerator of Mr. Fukushima.
Are you a boy or a girl?
I’m still an egg, but I call my self “Boku”. (Editor’s note: which usually is the word for “I” for young boys.)
Fukuppy, what’s your personality like?
I love to eat and I’m very curious. I’m gentle but with a strong sense of justice. Some people say I’m a little spacey and absent-minded. But I always am polishing myself to shine bright.
Fukuppy, what’s your job and your skills set? What do you bring to the table?
I fly around patrolling the freezers in Supermarkets and showcases with my special wings! I’m proud of them. I can talk to vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and see if they’re healthy. In addition, in order to bring happiness to the world, I have the important job of continuing to give birth to new exciting products–one after another.
We tried to contact Fukushima Industries today to get their take on their new mascot and their views on the silliness of his/her name, but unfortunately since it was Physical Education Day (体育の日）in Japan, we weren’t able to get an answer. So we went to the gym and worked out for a few hours. We hope Fukuppy got the day off , too. Accept for the unfortunate reporting mistaking him as a symbol of Fukushima Prefecture, he’s already worked very hard this week to provide merriment to the English speaking world. It will be interesting to see whether Fukushima Industries views the name of their mascot as a “f*ck-up” or tells the western world to go fukuppy themselves.
Fukushima Industries Responds (Politely)
October 15, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:
On the naming of our corporate mascot
It seems that the transliteration of the name of our corporate mascot into the English
alphabet has been mistakenly associated with some unsavory words by people living in
English speaking countries, or some content on the Internet may have led to
misunderstandings. We apologize profusely for having caused concern and
misunderstanding among a great many people.
We would also like to thank the many people who kindly pointed out these
misunderstandings and offered their opinions.
Below, we would like to provide an overview of our company, the derivation of our mascot’s
name, and the course we will follow going forward.
Fukushima Industries Corporation (headquarters: 3-16-11 Mitejima, Nishi-Yodogawa-ku,
Osaka; President: Yutaka Fukushima) is a company that provides safe and reliable food
technologies including temperature control technology centered on commercial
refrigerator-freezers and refrigerator-freezer showcases.
Our corporate mascot was created in April 2013, and its name is derived from a combination
of the “Fuku” in the company name–Fukushima–with the “-ppy” in the word “happy,” which
is part of our corporate identity as a: “Happiness Creation Company.”
With respect to naming, we will continue to consider how the name should be transliterated
as well as the name itself.