Kumamon’s Bid to Carry Olympic Flame Ends in Failure

Kumamon performs ahead of a Rugby World Cup match between France and Tonga on Oct. 6, 2019 in Kumamoto city. Image: Kyodo

KUMAMOTO (Kyodo) — Kumamon, the cuddly Japanese black bear-like character whose fame has spread overseas, has missed out on becoming a runner for the 2020 Olympic torch relay, officials familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The Kumamoto prefectural government had sounded out the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics on whether its chubby mascot could participate in the relay, but the idea was rejected partly because the character “is not a human being,” the officials said.

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