JCMU Mascot Design Contest Winners

We received a lot of truly amazing submissions for the JCMU Mascot Design Contest, and would like to thank our wonderful community for creating such unique, amazing characters. Meet the 2 winning designs below, including our soon-to-be mascot!

Grand Prize Winner



Artist: Pupppet

“Hiraku is an orange-beaked white swan who loves being supportive to everyone around him. Hiraku enjoys group activities and gatherings. Swans are one of many bird species that can be found in both lakes of Michigan & Shiga. Its name means expand, open, and support. The hat idea was from the JCMU logo design, as well as the red ball (so no, the red design is not part of the body). The black rectangular markings can be seen as neck accessories or part of the feathers, they were inspired from Hikone Castle.”

About the artist: Pupppet is a self-taught freelancer who enjoys making artistic doodles in their spare time. They love strange and cute things, and prefer ancient/old-fashion/fantasy styles. Check out more of their extraordinary work on Pupppet’s main art gallery site.


Runner-Up Winner

'Michi and Hishi' by Yu Tao Zhang (SELECTED FOR RUNNER-UP PRIZE).png

“Michi & Hishi”

Artist: Tommy; Yu Tao Zhang (JCMU fall 2016 alum)

“Since Michigan and Shiga are related as sister states, I think it would be appropriate to have sisters as mascots for JCMU. The one on the left is “Michi,” whose name is taken from Michigan. 蜜 is an old kanji for “Mi-chi” that means “sweet” or “honey.” The one on the right is “Hishi,” whose name is a combination of Hikone and Shiga. Her kanji name has the meaning of “shape of diamond.” Both of their designs are based on Japanese doll (日本人形). Although they are sisters, they are born in different countries. Hishi is the elder sister who grew up in Shiga, Japan. She likes to carry a traditional Japanese fan with her. Her hat is based on the design of the Shiga flag and the JCMU logo. She has a hair clip with the word “交” on it, which means “交換留学” (Student Exchange). Her kimono has a Sakura flower pattern, and the word “JPN” on it. “JPN” is written in English to emphasize the element of student exchange. Michi is the younger sister who grew up in Michigan, and visits her older sister through the exchange program. She also wears kimono to experience Japanese culture, and always carries a coffee cup around. Her hat is based on the design of Michigan state flag and the JCMU logo, and has a ribbon attached that written “EX” as “student exchange”. Her kimono has a pattern of apple blossom, the state flower of Michigan, and the word “米” on it. ( “米国” = United State of America) Michi and Hishi enjoy the experience of exchanging their culture and building their connections. Both of them have their own representative lakes, the Michigan’s Great Lakes and Lake Biwa, printed on their kimono bents. I believe this sister mascot could represent the long history between the sister state and the continuing growing and tightening bond between the Japanese and American students via the mean of the JCMU program.”