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The massive gathering of “kawaii” — Japanese for “cute” — characters mobbed downtown Yokohama Monday during the largest-ever Pikachu Carnival Parade.
The massive gathering of “kawaii” — Japanese for “cute” — characters mobbed downtown Yokohama Monday during the largest-ever Pikachu Carnival Parade. (Allen Onstott/Stars and Stripes)

More than 100 Pikachus – those world-famous cute, yellow “pocket monsters” also known as Pokemon -- mobbed downtown Yokohama Monday during the largest-ever Pikachu Carnival Parade.

The massive gathering of “kawaii” – Japanese for “cute” –characters flowed from Zou-no-hana Park to Yokohama Park in the city’s center, before parading back to where they started. Crowds decked out in Pokemon garb cheered as the Pikachus swiftly made their way along the route with other dancers and performers.

The hourlong parade was part of a series of Pokemon-themed events taking place in Yokohama through Tuesday that included smaller parades, gaming and pop-up Pikachu appearances.

Pokemon is a successful media franchise that spans video and trading card games, animated television shows, movies, comic books and toys.

It also spawned a global craze last year with the release of “Pokemon Go,” an augmented-reality smartphone game layered over the physical world in which players are sent to real-life locations to capture Pokemon characters. The game was a smash hit, shooting to the top of download charts soon after it launched last summer.

onstott.allen@stripes.com

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