Question! Just who, exactly, are these guys?
Answer! Mascots for Hokkaido TV channel, HTB!
On-chan was born on December 1st, 1997.
On-chan's first appearance was during HTB's 30th anniversary celebration, coming to Earth from a distant star to help cheer up the viewers. Although the plan was to only stay for a short time (really just for the anniversary) he's stuck around for over 15 years now as a regular mascot for the station.
Due to the popular HTB program "How's your Wednesday?" On-chan became a hit not only here in Hokkaido, but throughout Japan.
▲ On-chan on the roof of the entrance to the HTB building.
Appearing on TV shows as well as at events, it's not uncommon to run into this large, yellow, ball shaped alien when walking around Sapporo.
▲ Making a television appearance.
▲ Meeting with fans on a street corner.
▲ They're quite popular and appear at many events across Hokkaido.
Don't be fooled by these tiny pictures though, On-chan is actually quite large in person.
Standing at around 170 cm, On-chan is actually quite tall, and also quite fluffy to the touch. Before you realize it you'll be instinctively hugging him close. Sadly his arms are a bit too short to complete the embrace...
As you can see, On-chan isn't the only mascot on the team.
The pink colored one is On-chan's girlfriend, Ok-chan, and she loves strawberries and cake. The black one is On-chan's rival, No-chan.
There are many other members of the group as well. If you'd like to find out more, be sure to check the homepage link at the bottom of the article. The three we've featured here also make several appearances on the site.
▲ All three of them are so fluffy! Adorable!
▲ Mimicking the Abby Road shoot in Hakodate.
▲ Here they are trying out some curling! We've featured this place on Hokkaido Likers before, check the link below!
[ Place ]
"Dougin Curling Stadium"
If you've got your sights on making it to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, you're not too late!
On-chan and his friends have also made appearances on a variety of collectibles.
If you've ever been to New Chitose Airport, perhaps you've seen them before in the gift shop?
Doesn't the cute ball shape of On-chan bring a smile to your face?
There's also a free smart-phone application called "On-Cam" (onカメ) available. Hokkaido Likers collaborated with the group via the app to produce the work below!
▲ What do you think? Adorable, right?
On-chan is a character well loved around Hokkaido. If you ever happen to meet him, be sure to give him our regards!
■ On-chan World
■ "HTB On-chan Square" on facebook
■ Contact information for the Hokkaido Television Broadcasting Company (HTB)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(All photographs provided by HTB)