It's not unheard of for cities and towns to grant lofty positions to animals, but the Iwate Prefecture in Japan has taken things one step further by appointing Geodude the Pokémon as a tourism ambassador.
Geodude is one of the original 151 Pokémon from Pokémon Red & Blue, where it trails behind Zubat as being one of the most annoying Pokémon in the game, due to how often they are encountered while traveling through caves. Pokémon Sun & Moon gave Geodude an Alolan form that transformed it into a Rock/Electric-type, which made it slightly more interesting to use in competitive play.
The announcement of Geodude's rising political standing was made by the Japanese Huffington Post (via. Nintendo Life), which was quickly spread across Twitter. The reason why a floating stone with a pretty low popularity ranking in the original Pokémon games was chosen over literally anything else is because of the name. The kanji for the word Iwate can be translated as rock and hand, which fits Geodude pretty well. Geodude has also received an official animated music video in order to celebrate the occasion, which can be seen below.
The Pokémon crossover was created as part of a deal with the Pokémon Company in order to encourage tourism to the region and to help areas that are still recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Geodude's role as a tourism ambassador will also include a special collaboration with Pokémon Go in the future, which will no doubt involve a lot of Geodudes flooding the area in order to cash in on their famous name.
Geodude is a floating rock that stays aloft due to inexplainable Pokémon magic and that doesn't exist in the real world. The people who have to dress in the Geodude costume have to wear pants with a strange chequered pattern on them. The reason given for Geodude's strange fashion choice is that the pattern is intended to make it easier for people to remove the legs with the aid of Photoshop.
Geodude is mostly remembered for giving the players who picked Charmander in Pokémon Red & Blue a hard time in the Pewter City Gym, but its new ambassador role allows it to rise above its previous station and it can now mean something to the people of the Iwate Prefecture.