Meet Wasao, Aomori’s Canine Celebrity


While driving down the highway in Aomori, my friend pulled over suddenly. Why? Because he spotted a celebrity on the side of the road, of course! That celebrity was none other than Wasao, the plucky white Akita dog that recently starred in a movie bearing his name:


Apparently, Wasao often makes appearances in his hometown of Ajigasawa. Shamefully, I actually had no idea who this adorable creature was before my friend introduced us. Wasao was abandoned as a puppy but was later rescued and raised by a woman running a grilled-squid shop in Ajigasawa. His story was picked up by a Japanese travel blogger in 2008 and subsequently went viral, making Wasao famous all around Japan. He’s known for being “busa-kawa” (“ugly-cute”), which sounds contradictory but kind of makes sense when you look at him. According to Japan Probe, the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan gave Wasao the status of “special ambassador for World Heritage-related activities” to “promote the connection between people and nature, as well as the importance of life.”

I love this shot of Wasao in a mini Japanese-style truck:


Wasao starred as himself in the film, though a different Akita puppy was used for the scenes depicting his youth. There are a number of different trailers available on the Internet, but I thought I’d share this one since it has English subtitles:

And here’s Wasao being his rambunctious self in a short promotional video for Aomori Prefecture:

And of course, no Japanese attraction is complete without a cartoon rendering:


This was just one of the many random and super fun experiences I had in Aomori. More stories to come!

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