Nonficionado Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Book News | May 11, 2015

    Chris Hedges: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Chris Hedges

    Describe your latest book. Wages of Rebellion looks at the nature of rebellion, those who do it, why they do it, and the price they pay for being a... Continue »
    1. $18.89 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      Wages of Rebellion

      Chris Hedges 9781568589664


This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.

Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot

Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot Cover

ISBN13: 9780984190614
ISBN10: 0984190619
All Product Details


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Japanese have long been infatuated with the three-dimensional characters used to represent products, companies, civic organizations, towns and just about anything else you can imagine. Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot examines this fascinating cultural history, documenting the evolution of the character statues that are ubiquitous throughout the country today. 

The mascot trend began during the Edo period with the pot-bellied raccoon-dog Tanuki. These ceramic statues were first used as good luck charms (and they are still used as such today) but starting in the 19th century a noodle shop appropriated the character in an effort to create a link between Tanuki's fortuitous status and bowls of soup. It worked, and since then confectioners, pharmaceutical companies, television networks, food companies, police forces and fire departments have all created mascots. 

The mascots represent a brand or a certain shop but they also exist as stand-alone characters that people adore. Idle Idol's photographs and written explanations vivify these unique mascots that are artful, audacious and wholly Japanese!



What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Grady Harp, June 22, 2010 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
An Entertaining and Richly Observed Japanese Tradition

IDLE IDOL: The Japanese Mascot on the surface looks like a three dimensional comic book. Every page is filled with comical characters that on closer examination are doll-like images - shiny, simple, striking. This little book is the work of Edward and John Harrison who became obsessed with the imagery of storefront images in England, only to travel to Japan and fine a plethora of such images and discover the origins of these characters. Perhaps people on the West Coast of the USA can most closely identify with the Bob's Big Boy figure that still pops up in the most unexpected places advertising hamburgers.

But the history of these creatures goes further back than the ubiquitous drugstore Indians of the Old West. In Japan these 'dolls' (sometimes quite large in size) have been in use for the better part of the last century. The Harrisons separate the figures into categories - Hero, Legend, Spokesperson, TV Star, Entertainer, Chef, Doctor, and Meeter/Greeter. They all have names and meanings and are a highly visual means of attracting the public eye. The book is filled with hundreds of these characters. An interesting finding is the inclusion of the American figures of Bob's Big Boy, Ronald McDonald, and Colonel Sanders in the 'Chefs' section!

Each of the Idols pictured is accompanied by a short history and explanation of the meaning and the use in Japan. Even the method of naming them is discussed. The photography is excellent -all in full color - and the design by Mark Batty Publisher is, of course, of the expected high standard of all their books.

Grady Harp
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

The Japanese Mascot
Mark Batty Publisher
Harrison, Edward
Harrison, John
Popular Culture - General
Popular Culture
Sculpture & Installation
Art-History and Criticism
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.10x5.70x.80 in. .85 lbs.

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Asia and Far East
Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Graphic Design
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Sculpture » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Sculpture » Technique
Arts and Entertainment » Excess Culture » Objects
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Arts and Entertainment » Sale Books

Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 144 pages Mark Batty Publisher - English 9780984190614 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , CN
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at