Japanese mascots go beyond cute to master trade
"Where are your eyes? Where are your ears?" said Choko Oohira, the school's founder, gesturing in front of a recent class on moving in costume that included students dressed as a giant panda, cats and sheep.Herself a 20-year veteran of the mascot arts, Oohira founded the school - the only one of its kind in Japan and, quite possibly, the world - in 1985. Her goal: to help mascot wannabes perfect the art of moving and playing the characters.
"When I see places where someone's hand is coming out between the costume's hands, or they take off their mask in front of people, or show their skin under the mask, it's very
disappointing," Oohira said."I just want to tell them that's not how to do it. I want to show the world how to fully become the character and explain that's how to make children happy.
"Students are taught everything from traditional dance, to help with actual dance routines as mascots, to different walking styles that illustrate different ages while wearing costumes. Other lessons include how to interact with children while wearing a costume, how to present a kind or
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