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Japan's Kinki University to change 'pervy' name

TOKYO -- Move over Fukuppy, Japan's Kinki University has decided it's time for a name change after years of foreigners sniggering about its pervy nomenclature.

Like Fukuppy, the mascot for Fukushima Industries, the name “Kinki University” doesn't even raise an eyebrow in Japan, coming as it does from the Kinki area — the country's mid-western region in and around Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.

But the university's dean Hitoshi Shiozaki told reporters this week that he is tired of the giggles he gets abroad when he tells people where he works.

“The word 'kinky' also means perverted,” he said. “We have no other choice than changing the English name because we are serious about pursuing a more international school culture.”

Kinki University will become Kindai University — a contraction of “Kinki” and “Daigaku” (university), the school said on Wednesday, but the change will only take effect in 2016 when a new international studies faculty is opened.

Managers hope the move will embolden students to apply for exchanges, safe in the knowledge that they won't be laughed at just for the name of their university.

In October last year Fukushima Industries said it would rename its mascot, Fukuppy, after Internet users pointed out its unfortunate resemblance to an English expression that many feel describes the catastrophe at the unrelated Fukushima nuclear power plant.

However, a search of the company's website on Wednesday revealed the slightly gormless-looking winged egg still bore the same name.

Japanese, which has far fewer sounds than many European languages, abounds with vaguely amusing transliterations. No major urban center, for example, is without its own Shiti Hotel — the less-than-inviting pronunciation of “city hotel.”

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