Say hello to Gen-kun! Our Japanese pottery teacher, Mr. Shimozaki, was kind enough to design him for us. Gen-kun is a benevolent demon. He is made up of 12 parts, one for each animal in the Chinese zodiac, and has three faces:
-One face to bring happiness
-One face to ward off evil
-One face that sees the truth
The image above was created by our intern, Clarice, based on drawings by Mr. Shimozaki. Gen-kun should be a prominent part of our new website design, due shortly.
Of course, since Mr. Shimozaki is a potter, Gen-kun isn’t just a logo – he’s also immortalized in clay! 10cm-high Gen-kun sculptures are on display in our gallery, and available for sale through GenkiJACS. Each statue is unique, and it is rumored that rubbing his stomach will bring happiness.
His name comes from the first character of the word 元気 (Genki). 元 means the source or beginning. くん (“kun”) is a cute suffix added to male names.
Now, here’s where it gets difficult. Mr. Shimozaki gave us some text that goes with Gen-kun. We’ve tried to translate it to English, but it’s a little idiosyncratic, and it’s hard to translate puns… Anyway, here goes:
They say that to turn happiness upside down is to invite happiness.
People say I have a 福顔 (“fukugao”, happy face), but if you turn happiness upside down you get (“kufugao”). If you turn that word upside down, you get .
It’s pronounced “Fukuoka” of course!
– My birthday: the day you bought me
– My hobbies: Reading people’s hearts
– Favorite thing: Listening to you complain
– Favorite phrase: “Are you genki?”
– When you’re happy, you won’t see me any more…