Okay, maybe it’s not a real bear, nor is it an actual monkey, but “Bear Riding a Monkey” is as apt a description as any. What we have here is a video about a bear mascot in Japan riding a Honda Monkey. Why? Because it’s Japan. Perhaps a bit of background is necessary.
The bear is Kumamon, the official mascot for Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture. Created by the local government in 2010, Kumamon is a big part of Kumamoto’s tourism industry, with the bear featured prominently on local advertising, landmarks and trains. Kumamon’s popularity has spread beyond the Prefecture and is now recognized throughout Japan.
Kumamoto is also home to one of Honda’s motorcycle factories, which led to the production of a three-part video series about Kumamon riding a Honda Monkey bike.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
The first two parts (part 1 and part 2) show Honda giving Kumamon his (her? Its?) own 50cc Monkey motorcycle and touring the factory where it is assembled. In the third and final part, Kumamon finally takes the Monkey out for a spin. The first half of the video recaps the other two videos, so feel free to skip ahead to the 1:45 mark to see this bear ride.
Needless to say, we don’t recommend anyone putting on a bear costume and riding a motorcycle (the huge feet would make shifting difficult while the thick mitts would hinder braking), and we’re pretty sure that helmet isn’t DOT approved, but we’re always happy to see new riders enter the sport. Even if they are Japanese bear mascots.