Kawaii! Japan's love for plush toy racehorses

Story highlights

  • Toy horses popular with Japanese racing fans
  • 1,350 fluffy replicas sold at the Japan Cup

(CNN)Japan loves horse racing.

Almost 10 million people attended more than 17,800 national and local races in 2015 alone.
But there is one thing that Japanese fans love almost as much as the horses themselves: Plush toy horses.
    Japan's $22 billion love of horse racing
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    The fluffy replicas prove extremely popular, especially at the country's prestigious Japan Cup race meeting.
    "At the Tokyo Racecourse on the Japan Cup day, they sold about 1,350 figures and the total turnover came up to 1.6 million ($13,680) Japanese yen," a spokesperson for the Japan Racing Association said of November's race.
    It comes as no surprise, then, that the bestselling toy is a replica of 2006 Japan Cup winner Deep Impact, also renowned for completing the Japanese Triple Crown the previous year.
    In total, 17 different toy horses are sold across JRA-sanctioned events, each representing a distinct horse.
    They certainly are "kawaii" -- or "cute" -- as the Japanese would say.