Accoriding to media reports, 2016 annual sales of "Kumamon"-related merchandise reached a record, at least 128 bilion yen.
"Kumamon" is a famous mascot PR character of Kumamoto prefecture in Japan and it was created in 2010 as part of a promotion campaign. Kumamoto prefectuer allows the use of Kumamon's image for free under certain conditions. People who want to use Kumamon's image need to inform the prefectural government in advance.
In 2016, a series of powerful earthquakes hit Kumamoto prefecture. "Kumamon" cheered up poeple who were living in evacuation centers after the earthquakes.