Kuma-mon (Japanese: くまモン Kuma-mon) is the male-bear mascot created by the local government of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu which is located in the south of Japan, in 2010. It officially appeared to the public with the launching of train route of Kyushu Shinkansen in March 2011 to promote tourism in the region. Shortly afterwards, Kuma-mon quickly gained popularity throughout Japan, and at the end of such year, Kuma-mon was voted by Japanese nationwide, so it was awarded the Best Mascot from 350 mascots sent to the contest from each locality. After the public appearance of Kuma-mon, it has been so popular that the museum was established with 23,000 mascots of Kuma-mon. In addition to the mascot for tourism promotion, it is used as the symbol of consolation and remedies both physically and mentally for the earthquake victims in 2016, and for funding to reconstruct and repair the damaged Kumamoto Castle.