Kai-kun, one of Japanese phone company Softbank's canine models has passed away.

Softbank’s bizarre but entertaining marketing strategy won them many fans when they cast not a human or an animated character, but a real-life dog as the face of their brand. The white Hokkaido breed dog plays ‘Otosan’, literally translated as ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’. Otosan is, for some reason, the patriarch of the otherwise human Shirato family, who take part in surreal sketches where the fact that their dad is a dog is barely discussed.

From space exploration to politics, Otosan has taken on plenty of adventures with the support of his ethnically diverse family. Although new characters have been added, until recently it was a nuclear family consisting of Otosan himself, his wife Masako, daughter Aya and son Kojiro.

Here are some of the more memorable antics from the commercials over the years.

Otosan rose to great domestic popularity becoming one of the most recognizable brand ambassadors. According to the Japan Times, Softbank consistently won Brand of the Year awards between 2007 to 2011 for their creative marketing.

Kai-kun was the second dog to play the role of the father and he retired from Softbank in 2014. Since then his duties have been taken over by his sons, Kaito-kun and Kaiki-kun.

Kai-kun passed away on June 28th 2018. He was 16 years old. All dogs go to heaven, especially nationally adored, accomplished actors like him.

By - Jess.