When in Osaka, it's pretty much a sin to not drop by Dotonbori. This district is one of Osaka's main tourist and nightlife hotspots, which means there is a lot to see, eat, and experience in the area. 

One of the must-visit landmarks among travelers is the Glico Man. The brightly lit sign, which features a runner with his arms raised up in victory, has been around for decades now. Most, if not all, travelers who visit Dotonbori make sure to drop by the canal to take a photo of the iconic sign. 

Glico Man Sign, Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

(Photo : Bella Javier Liamzon / Travelers Today )

But who exactly is the Glico Man?

What is Glico? 

Let's first talk about Glico. If you're fan of Pocky (you might also know it as Mikado), you have Glico to thank for the existance of that sweet treat.

Ezaki Glico is a well-known manufacturer of confectionery products in Japan. Its founder, Ezaki Richii, created a caramel candy that contains glycogen, which he extracted from oysters. This where the company got its name.

The caramel candy was eventually given the name "Cuchieco." When it was advertised, a sales copy that read "300 Meters in a Single Piece" was used because the product can give a person the energy to run 300 meters. As part of its packaging, a running man was used to represent this. 

This running man eventually became Glico's iconic mascot. 

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Who is the Glico Man?

The initial running man used for the packaging didn't exactly work for the company because his face scared children, according to Esquire. Wanting to have a friendlier and happier-looking runner, Ezaki went on to look at photos of smiling runners and eventually found three that inspired the Glico Man. 

One of them is the late Fortunato Catalon, a track and field sprinter from the Philippines, who was once given the unofficial title of "Asia's Fastest Man." After all, he was able to complete a 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat.

Aside from Catalon, another runner who inspired the Glico Man is Japan's very own Shizo Kanakuri. He was known as the "father of marathon running" in Japan and competed around the same time as Catalon. 

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