A mutual love for mascots led John Oliver to Chiitan and to boost tourism in the Japanese city of Susaki.
You never know just what will be discussed when you turn on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It can be the most pressing social or political topic of the times or, like it was last night, it can be about the Japanese mascots Chiitan and Shinjo-kun.
John Oliver does a good job of catching the audience up on the popularity of mascots in Japan and the story behind the city of Susaki’s mascot controversy. The absurdity of the story caught Oliver’s attention and led to one of the more strange and entertaining bits of Last Week Tonight this season.
Fans already know how much Oliver enjoys mascots. Whether they are actually wax figures or mascots he created for government agencies, Oliver clearly finds it very amusing to have these types of characters running around.
Returning to the saga in Susaki, Oliver was able to put that love of mascots to good use. Not only did he bring attention to the drama between Chiitan and Shinjo-kun but he may also have done wonders for Japanese tourism:
The story of Chiitan could have simply been used to showcase the bright sides of Twitter. Or it could have just been a welcomed relief when so much of late night is focused on much more serious issues than we’re used to seeing. But no other show can seamlessly go back and forth from the topical to the bizarre quite like Last Week Tonight.
Oliver says it himself but any fan watching had a pretty good idea of how this segment was going to end. We were either going to get a visit from Chiitan or see a knockoff version in the studio with Oliver. Instead there was the wonderful surprise of Chiijohn.
Credit to Oliver for sending Chiijohn over to comfort Shinjo-kun rather than to be a partner in crime for Chiitan. By doing this segment, both mascots and the city of Susaki benefit from the attention that will come from millions of Last Week Tonight fans.
For many fans, this episode of Last Week Tonight provided more information about Japanese mascots than they ever thought they could learn. But that is the comedic beauty of what John Oliver can do each week. So, who’s booking a trip to Susaki this summer??