No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This winged corporate mascot is actually named Fukuppy. But as appropriate as the cartoon is to represent the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, it has nothing to do with it. Fukuppy actually belongs to a Japan-based refrigeration company, which, happily for Internet users worldwide, named this strange little egg without realizing what it would sound like to English speakers. According to The Guardian:

Fukuppy has become an unlikely online star after someone spotted his unintentionally hilarious name on the firm’s website.

This led to inaccurate reports that Fukuppy was being used to promote the regeneration of Fukushima Prefecture – given the long list of problems to have hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, some thought the name would have been inadvertently fitting.

“I’m Fukuppy. Nice to meet you,” the mascot says on the company’s website.

The origins of Fukuppy, whose name combines the Japanese word for good fortune with letters from the English word “happy”, are far more mundane.

He represents Fukushima Industries, a major manufacturer of industrial cooling systems based in Osaka that has offices throughout Japan and in many parts of Asia, including China and Singapore.

The firm is named after its founder – a certain Mr Fukushima – whose name shares the kanji characters used to write the name of the tsunami-hit prefecture hundreds of miles away in Japan’s north-east.

On Tuesday, the company said the online sniggering over its mascot’s name was the result of an innocent misunderstanding, adding that the character had no connection with the Fukushima region, although the firm does have a sales office there.

“A lot of media are reporting [on] our mascot, which created misunderstanding,” a company spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse. “In order to get rid of the confusion, we will announce our stance on the issue on our website later in the day.”

The firm issued a press release clearing up any misunderstanding and apologising for the commotion the media coverage had caused.

Fukuppy’s name has been replaced with Japanese characters to fend off giggling, but unfortunately for Fukushima Industries, it’s hard to take things back once they’ve been released onto the World Wide Web.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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