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a japanese clown in osaka

Sure, New York has the Empire State Building, but really it’s little more than a big block of concrete with a funny-shaped top. Oh yeah London, nice try with Big Ben, but you’re not fooling anyone. Paris? Come on, what’s the Eiffel Tower all about anyway? Pyramids of Egypt? Don’t make me laugh. Sydney Opera House? Apparently it’s the size of a terraced house in Manchester. Tiananmen Square? There's nothing even there.

When it comes to iconic city symbols, look no further than Osaka.

I bet you've already got an image in your mind. No, not the Hanshin Tigers. And forget the octopus balls. The fact is, when Osaka comes up in conversation, most people say one of two things. Either:

1. What's Osaka?
2. Oh yes, that's the city with a true iconic symbol, isn't it.

And here it is:

Most people say he's a clown, but to me he looks like a salaryman on his way to a fancy dress party. I mean, I thought clowns had funny hair and red noses. Hang on a minute, so do most salarymen. But they don’t usually go around in fancy dress, right?

Salarymen on their way to work.

The fella’s name is Kuidaore Taro, and since 1950 he’s been banging his big drum outside his restaurant (Cui-daore) in Dotonbori, wondering what all the fuss is about.

At first glance he looks pretty expressionless, but on closer inspection you'll notice subtle mouth and eyebrow movements, allowing him to display a vast array of emotions. This entertains the kids no end.....



Psychopathic anger....

The tragic news is that on Tuesday the restaurant will close and so Kuidaore Taro, along with his drum, will finally be dispatched to that great circus in the sky.

As a result of his imminent demise, his popularity has soared and the number of people turning up from across the country to have their photo taken alongside him has increased tenfold.

There are plenty of salarymen lining up for a shot too, of course....

But over the years Kuidaore Taro has, not surprisingly, grown somewhat weary of his daily duty....

A mechanically real woman a few doors down is hoping to become the new city icon once Kuidaore Taro has gone, but so far no one's interested....

And so in just a few days Kuidaore Taro will be taken down and quite possibly broken into small pieces.

Dotonbori loses a drummer in a clown suit and the city of Osaka loses an icon.

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On Saturday, 05 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oh my gosh, that place is closing?! It feels like the end of an era. Please tell me the huge Kani Doraku crab with mechanical arms is still there...  

On Saturday, 05 July, 2008, Blogger the englishman said:

Rest assured, the crab is still there, clinging to the wall.  

On Saturday, 05 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

i am a festival of sadness. this news is very dark and little light comes out of it. from now, my onigiris will be filled with tears,★shock + pain = my heart★★you break my heartlife with this so so hurting news story. why you not be kind man and tell news of happyness?????
★sad★sad★more sad. i is like a sea of sad plus 2.
★i cry★  

On Sunday, 06 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Good riddance; that Japanese Harry Potter always freaked me out. Not so much expressions of surprise or anger as of various stages of arousal. I mean, look at that girls fingers...right up his...drum.

I vote a new statue be commisioned, of the "yeah, but I am" guy. If your going to have a risqué statue at least go whole hog.  

On Sunday, 06 July, 2008, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said:

I have never been afraid of clowns...at least until now....  

On Monday, 07 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

I was in Osaka two months ago, and I was very surprised of the number of people taking pictures of the clown. It is apparently really part of the identity of Osaka.

I really enjoyed my stay in Kansai last time. Osaka is actually a very convenient city.

I also found very impressive the view of the city from Mount Rokko.  

On Tuesday, 08 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Thank Buddha I took a photo with him last time!  

On Sunday, 13 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said:

omg ur right. he does look like a salary man!  

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