Oliver’s new mascot Chiijohn steals Chiitan’s best friend and now there’s beef to settle.
If you’ve been reading our site for a while now, you’ll know we have a soft spot for a cheeky Japanese otter mascot called Chiitan. The self-described “0-year-old fairy baby” first caught our attention back in February last year, with a series of everyday videos we couldn’t stop watching on repeat.
One of those videos was this one, showing Chiitan kicking a balance ball, which has racked up close to 8 million views.
バランスボールを買ってもらいましたっ☆ ちぃたん☆ですっ☆ https://t.co/G3fn2gSDyW
ちぃたん☆ (@love2chiitan) February 19, 2018
While these crazy videos brought fame to the mascot, they also brought controversy, as the mayor of Susaki City in Kochi Prefecture officially requested that the mascot “suspend activities” earlier this year.
According to the mayor’s office, Chiitan looks similar to the city’s official mascot, a fellow otter called Shinjo-kun who was designed by the same person, and although Susaki once embraced Chiitan as their unofficial “Tourism Ambassador”, this status was rescinded following complaints from residents over the mascot’s unruly behaviour.
▼ Chiitan was tainting the image of the city, and deemed to be a bad influence on Shinjo-kun, their official mascot.
ÒㅅÓ。)ﾉWe’re the bosses, don’t even try to mess with us or we’ll commit otterocities ☆ #friends #badboy #mafia #yakuza #yankee #cute #creepy #chiitan #yuruchara #game #competiton #tryme #fighting #winner #otter #mascot #japan #shinjokun #wtf #petstagram #worldotterday #animalsoftheday #animalsofinstagram #funny #loutre #ちいたん #ちぃたん #punnyjokes #punny
A post shared by しんじょう君 (@shinjokun) on Nov 24, 2018 at 12:51am PST
So while it’s not unusual for Chiitan to court controversy in the media, we were still surprised to see the mascot now in a beef with another well-known personality, this time British talk show host John Oliver.
Oliver, who hosts the American late-night talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, started the trans-Pacific beef when he told viewers about the mascot and its history on his show a few nights ago.
While the above video doesn’t show the entire clip, at the end of the segment, Oliver said he felt sorry for Shinjo-kun losing a best friend, and even went so far as to create a new unofficial mascot to keep Shinjo-kun company.
▼ Say hello to Chiijohn, a “41-year-old near-sighted English fairy baby”.
Last Week Tonight (@LastWeekTonight) April 22, 2019
John Oliver actually sent the new otter mascot over to Japan to fill