OWL Magazine Korea

The Iconic ‘Glico Man’ of Osaka’s Dotonbori

One cannot overlook Dotonbori when considering the central areas of Osaka, Japan. Dotonbori stands out as a prominent commercial district in the Osaka region, bearing a resemblance to Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon.

In Dotonbori, you’ll come across several large billboards, and among them, one particularly iconic symbol of Dotonbori is the ‘Glico Man’ sign from the Glico company.

“The Glico Company’s Character, Glico Man”

Glico Man is the mascot of the Japanese confectionery company, Glico. Glico originated in 1919 when Ezaki Reiji added glycogen extracted from oysters into caramel, creating the nutritionally fortified snack, Glico.

Glico marketed the product with a catchphrase, “One Glyco Ball Equals 300 Meters,” and featured a drawing of a running man. This conveyed the message that consuming this snack would give you the energy to run an additional 300 meters.

Starting from this, Glico went on to create a product similar to Korea’s Pepero, called Pocky. The Pepero available in Korea is a product created by Lotte, inspired by Japan’s Pocky.

“The Glico Man Advertisement in Osaka’s Dotonbori”

In Dotonbori, you can find a large Glico Man sign from the Glico company. Formerly made as a neon sign, it has now been replaced with an LCD sign that changes every 15 minutes, displaying different scenes.

While observing the sign, you might notice subtle changes in the background or suddenly see a scene of someone running around the world. Sometimes, during victories for the Hanshin Tigers (Osaka’s baseball team), the character is dressed in the team’s uniform and depicted running.

“Glico Man Isn’t a Japanese Model?”

It’s interesting to note that the model for Glico Man, representing the Glico company, is not Japanese. The model for Glico Man is Karakot, a track and field athlete from the Philippines who previously competed in the Far Eastern Championship Games, an early version of the Asian Games.

At that time, he was the only athlete from Asia to win a medal. His likeness was directly used to create the character, and over time, through various modifications, the face and physique underwent slight changes, eventually leading to the current appearance.

Reportedly, even now, the character undergoes slight transformations approximately every ten years.

If you visit Osaka, the Glico Man sign in Dotonbori is undoubtedly an unmissable attraction. Taking a certification photo in front of it might just be a natural part of your visit to Osaka.

“Japan, Osaka Dotonbori, Glico Man”

  • Address: Japan, 〒542-0071 Osaka, Chuo-ku, Dotonbori, 1 Chome−10, Osaka City, Chuo Ward
  • Phone: +81 6-6130-4208
  • Website: Glico Official Website