Megu Aoshima is a controversial mascot that was created to promote the city of Shima.
For the past two years, Megu has been used to unofficially promote Shima by her creators. Last year, a successful crowdfunding campaign raised 7.16 million yen ($63,000). Two short anime videos were created with the funds. The short video is a simple introduction while the longer one features Megu visiting various sites in the Ise-Shima Region.
Yoshihiro Hamaguchi designed Megu to promote the region’s pearl diving heritage. Official support of the character from the city was withdrawn after regional pearl divers voiced their displeasure of the character.
Despite Megu being 17-years-old, the average pearl diver is a 70-year-old woman. The divers argued that they don’t want foreigners to associate pearl diving with sexualized moe characters. Other divers voiced their disappointment that characters like Megu are created to appeal to people who are only interested in with women’s bodies.
In the face of pushback, Megu will continue to be used to unofficially promote the region.