Recently, those kind of image charactors and mascots are called ‘Yuru Chara’, which means slow (flappy) Charactor,
and we call them ‘YURU-KYARA’(ゆるキャラ) in Japanse.
Most of them are desigend to be like Kawaii, adorable and winsome.
As far as I can remember, those kinds of local charactors or image chractors were not so much popular 5～10 years ago,
but the very first Yuru-chara which became popular was ‘Hiko-Nyan’, which Hikone-City blazed a trail on that.
And these days, most of Japanese prefectures has their original Yuru Chara and let them play an active role on the promotions and tourism.
It’s getting warm these days and good for traveling, so how about palying a ball on finding your best favorite Yuru-Chara ?? : )
Saitama’s Image Charactor ‘KOBATON’