Panda Madness in Ueno

In February 2011, after two new Giant Pandas arrived at Ueno zoo, the ensuing frenzy was quite staggering. Of course whenever a popular band, art exhibition, or film comes to town there’s a lot of publicity. But the intensity of the reaction to this pair of ursines was something else.

I’d call it “Panda-monium”.

Realizing there was a lot to see, one day I wandered around the area scouting for interesting examples of panda influence.

(click all images to enlarge)

Outside the zoo there were (as expected) kiosks selling panda-themed gifts – the usual pens, keyrings, soft toys, socks, etc. and here a girl stands outside the panda (パンダ) shop gazing longingly.

Kids posing as pandas for their parents’ photos

A postbox in the park has been redesigned in panda form…complete with ears and tail.

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From a historic old temple in the park looking towards the surrounding buildings, one can see a big smiling cartoon panda face through a gap in the trees.

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Walking to the side of the park, a local panda bus drives past, and as you look inside you can see that the seat covers have panda ears.

The bus was driving under Panda Bridge, a long concrete overpass bridge from the park side of Ueno Station to the other. Towards the far end of the bridge is the “Panda Bridge” entrance to the station, featuring, as the name suggests, a panda.
(click images to enlarge)

As one ventures further down the road it becomes obvious that panda promotion extends well beyond the park boundaries. Things are in full swing with flags decorating the streets.

In the shops are a variety of special goods: panda backpacks, panda cookies and colourful clear panda umbrellas.

(click images to enlarge)

Even the local adult trade has adopted the beloved panda in its marketing strategy.

A construction site hoarding uses a panda in a hard hat to explain that pandas have come to Ueno.

Yodobashi Camera adopts panda characters at its Ueno store.


Here’s the official Ueno Panda site


~ by JapanGasm on 31 December, 2011.

3 Responses to “Panda Madness in Ueno”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. I think I will that a look through your other posts!

  2. […] for expressing oneself through fashion, and we all know pandas are popular in Japan (see here and here), but this I simply can’t […]

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