In Japan, cartoon-like mascots are everywhere: at sporting events, shopping malls, even prisons. But how do they learn to behave like proper mascots? Enter Choko Oohira. She runs The Mascot Actor’s School, one of the world’s only mascot training academies. With character-driven sales netting some $16 billion dollars per year, mascots are not only big-headed, they’re big business.

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