Meet Azuki, the Japanese pigmy hedgehog and pet of photographer Shuichi Tsunoda. They have been together since 2016 and are virtually inseparable. It was thanks to Coleman Japan, a manufacturer of camping gear that Azuki’s star began to rise. After creating a series of advertisements for the company, Shuichi created an Instagram account for Azuki and the rest, as they say, is history. Today Azuki has over 427K followers on the social media platform.
Coleman specially commissioned miniature versions of its camping gear for Azuki, and with a little help from Shuichi’s imagination, the two of them set about creating a series of totally realistic camping photographs. As Shuichi explained, Azuki likes to eat mealworms and apple, and for fifteen minutes each day, he would take photos of Azuki in each of the new settings he had created. To say that the results are super-cute is an understatement! We were wondering why there were no photos of Azuki on an inflatable raft or on a camping airbed, and then we realized why not….
As for the popularity of Azuki, well he continues to be asked to appear in commercials and believe it or not, he was even offered six publishing deals, one of which he accepted (or maybe Shuichiaccepted on his behalf) and in September 2017 Azuki the Hedgehog (tagline: I’m not a mouse, I’m a hedgehog!) was published. One of the main reasons Shuichi was so keen to have a book about Azukipublished was because hedgehogs get a pretty bad press in Japan as they are seen more as rodents. He was anxious to do something to change the cultural perception and increase awareness of just how cute these creatures are.
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