Mameshiba extending reach

Japanese bean dog characters moving into English-speaking territories.
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The Japanese pop culture craze Mameshiba is spreading its reach into other countries, with the bean dog characters now available in English-speaking territories.

Consumers will be able to pick them up from a new online store, as well as at select bricks and mortar retailers. An official website has also been launched, including games, videos, competitions, information on new products and promotions.

Short videos featuring the characters went viral last summer and have already attracted over two million views on YouTube.

In terms of licensing, Heroic Prints is producing t-shirts, wall décor and electronic device skins in the US, Canada and UK; California boutique retailer Happy Six is offering women's apparel; Toynami is developing plush, beanies and vinyl figures for the US; and Viz Media is planning a children's book for launch in spring 2011.

"The reaction to Mameshiba has been extremely positive worldwide," said Yuma Sakata, senior VP at DCI LA.

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