By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mascot culture in Japan is serious business and the country loves the furry creatures that have a following worldwide, like Pikachu and old favorites Mario and Luigi.

But even with their futuristic faces and rock star introduction, Tokyo’s Olympic mascots are struggling to stand out. Olympic organizers hope Miraitowa and Someity will help bring the summer games to life.

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Mascots have a long history at the Olympics. The first official one debuted nearly 50 years ago with Waldi the dachshund at the Munich games in Germany.

But in Japan, the multitude of mascots do more than just promote events and brands, they help folks let their hair down.

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One teacher of the trade said, “They make you smile when you see them, and you can immediately shake hands or hug.”

Mascots can also get some pretty personal questions. One mascot says people ask for advice about their lives and work, like how to be nice to a boss you hate, or how to deal with a deadbeat husband.

Opening up to a mascot may be easy, but being one isn’t. Costumes can be heavy, hard to see out of, and hot during the summer.

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The 2020 Olympic mascots were chosen by children from more than 16,000 Japanese elementary schools in the country and abroad. Team