Friday, April 12, 2019

Shenmue Mugs | 1999 Shenmue Premiere Merchandise

When Shenmue was launched in Japan back in 1999, there was a wide range of merchandise available for sale at the premiere event: calendars, ballpoint pens, figurines, posters and more.

Today we'll focus on one of the types of merchandise items, namely the Shenmue mug.

There were a total of four mug designs based on the concept sketches of four key characters. These concept sketches were also used for posters and several other items, as can be seen in this scan from a premiere merchandise leaflet (mugs circled in red):

A closer look at the four designs: Shenhua, Niao Sun, Ren and Ryo.
Image credit: Shenmue Master
Niao Sun was one of the four major characters to be promoted during the Shenmue premiere, but she has yet to make an appearance in either of the first two games. However it is the expectation of some fans that she will be making her debut in Shenmue III (and indeed what looks to be her character model was spied in the background of a 2017 Shenmue III "teaser" trailer).

Below is the Niao Sun mug with its original box: 
Niao Sun mug & box (image: Retro Import Gamer)
On the mug, above her image is the classic "Shenmue" logo; at the lower left corner the copyright text of "©SEGA 1998", and on the right the name of the character shown in the concept art. Instead of "Niao Sun" we see "Choujhun," which is the pronunciation of this character's name in Japanese.

Turning our attention to the box, on the side it has a label with "Sega Enterprises" written at the top, followed by the company address in Tokyo and a free-dial number and service hours for the Dreamcast Support Center.

Yu Suzuki can be seen sipping from one of the Shenmue mugs (the Shenhua one) back in Kickstarter Update #66.

Even Ryo uses one, as can be seen in this (fan-created) image!
Image credit: Blasto on the old Shenmue Dojo forums

The Niao Sun mug shown in this article is currently available from our friends at Retro Import Gamer on their Ebay store. Item ships from the UK.

View the Niao Sun mug (unused with box) listing on Ebay

Or view other Shenmue items listed on the Retro Import Gamer website.

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  1. Are there any other or same images printed behind the mugs?

    1. I don't own one myself but I believe the mugs only have a single image on them, with the rest being white.