Japan has apparently appointed a pink sea cucumber dressed in a white sailor suit as the new mascot for its de facto navy known as Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The cuddly mascot, named Namakoro, will represent for the Sasebo region. Latestly reports. The cuke looks more like a best friend to the popular Sanrio cartoon character Hello Kitty than a protector of Japan's high seas.
While Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force website doesn't have any information on the mascot, Namakoro was allegedly chosen because "sea cucumbers don't run, don't hide, and have thick skin which is good for protection from enemies," according to a tweet from the Mondo Mascots blog.
Of course, real sea cucumbers don't wear sailor suits or look like friendly cartoon creatures. In some cases, they can look rather horrifying.
Footage of a real-life sea cucumber nicknamed the "headless chicken monster" went viral last week.
The rare red sea cucumber, known as Enypniastes eximia, has wing-like webbing for swimming, but where you might expect a head there's nothing but a circular ring of tentacles, making it look like its noggin has been chopped off.
Now that's the kind of mascot fit for Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force.