Friday, 4 May 2012

Japan is so cute! Introduction to the cutest characters

Japan is land of the cute! Or in Japanese "Kawaii", and I bet it won't be long until that becomes an English word at the rate it is being used on the net. Especially in France, the masses of "Otaku" are using "Kawaii" in standard conversation, and to be honest it definitely is a notch above the word cute from English because nothing in the west can really compare to the extremely cute world of "Kawaii" in Japan.

Now, first off, don't get me wrong! I am not some girly boy, or in any way into those cute animations with characters you want to kill at first site such as "Care bears", but in Japan cute can be just really cute. I rarely feel any negativity from the cuteness of standard characters in Japan, though some anime can be a little cute in how they are portrayed and especially the voices, general original cute characters with no annoyingly over-cute voices are just pleasantly cute.

So let me introduce some of favourites!

Mameshiba

This is my favourite! For you out there who do not understand Japanese.
"Mame" means "bean". Yes because the character is weirdly enough, shaped like an edamame(Soya) bean which an often eaten green bean in Japan.


There is an anime cartoon and even a Nintendo video game version of it. See below!


Official Mame Shiba Nintendo DS Page:
http://dogatch.jp/anime_kids/mameshiba/game/

Official Mame Shiba Anime Page:
http://dogatch.jp/anime_kids/mameshiba/

Rilakkuma


The cute bear from Japan has become a huge hit because of its lazy looking but cute design. It can be found all over Japan on a variety of goods from cuddly-toys to sweets.
From the Japanese style English name, you might notice that "rilak" is actually trying to resemble "relax". Yes, this lazy bear was originally advertised as sleeping under a blanket, and is still done these days but not as much. However his lazy characteristics are still present.
He loves sweet comfort-foods such as pancakes and pudding, lazing about, and he really dislikes spicy foods. Yeh, bit of a lazy teddy bear, but he is definitely pleasantly cute to have decorated in your home.



You can find more information about the cute bear from the official site below. Check out the other characters, and even though everything is written in Japanese, I am sure you will more than enjoy it.

List of characters from the official Rilakkuma page:
http://www.san-x.co.jp/newcha/2009/newchara09.html

Hello Kitty


Hello Kitty is the cute cat that has broken cultural barriers and spread around the world to infect us all with "kawaii".



Yes, Hello Kitty is coming at the end of the list because I like it but just don't feel it is that special. And to be honest I think a lot of Japan thinks the same way as me.
Although it is extremely popular in the west as a kind of cute-Japanese mascot. It really has its competition in Japan. Although it is still popular in Japan, it is fiercely over-shadowed in cuteness by the immense competition.

The drawings are cute, but honestly, it is the last of my choices when in the land of the cute - Japan.

Hello Kitty Official Page:
http://www.sanrio.co.jp/characters/detail/hellokitty/index.html

And that is it for today. I will surely introduce more popular cute trends in Japan later on.

Thank you!

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