ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

the Japanese Rilakkuma phenomenon

Updated on August 26, 2011
Source

What's so special about this bear?

You may have come across this cute and cuddly plush bear, and wondered what it's all about?

It's Japanese kawaii culture at its best, the culture of anything cute and adorable which is rapidly spreading across the globe. Since the 1970s kawaii has been a prominent aspect of the Japanese popular culture, and today is one of Japan's biggest cultural exports.

Kawaii (かわいい)is the Japanese adjective for cute/loveable/adorable and is formed by the two kanji 可愛いwhich literally means "acceptable love". The word kawaii has had a few more attributes added to it, and today is also associated with being cool & funky.

Rilakkuma is just one of the characters from the universe of "cute" to enjoy increasing popularity, and win the hearts of kids and young women. So if you are into the cute & cuddly it's not hard to understand why.

Welcome to the world of Rilakkuma!

The story of Rilakkuma

Rilukkuma is one of the many cute characters created by the Japanese San-X company.

San-X specializes in the creation and marketing of cuddly designs, and their characters can be found on a variety of consumer products ranging from toys, stationary, books, anime and games to accessories and food packaging.

Hello Kitty by Sanrio may be seen as the queen of Kawaii, but San-X is not far behind with characters such as the lazy Tarepanda, Nyan Nyan Nyanko white kittens and Rilakkuma of course.

The name Rilakkuma literally means Relaxed Bear deriving from Rirakkusu (レラックス) to relax and Kuma くま(熊) meaning bear in Japanese.

Escaping the stress of modern day life, the universe of Rilakkuma is all about relaxing and enjoying a trouble free lifestyle. Rilakkuma lives in the apartment of an office lady, Kaoru, and it's a bit of a mystery why he ended up taking residency there! Other characters in the world of Rilakkuma is the little white bear Korilakkuma, who is Rilakkuma's companion as well as the energetic bird Kiiroi tori.

the world of Rilakkuma

Rilakkuma does things in his own pace and often lies around, enjoys hot springs, listens to music, watches tv and sleeps. However Korilakkuma literally "child or little bear" is more energetic and enjoys listening to music, dancing, drawing and joking around. Some of Rilakuma's favorite foods include pancakes, custard and "omurice" (omelette with fried rice and ketchup).

Rilakkuma first appeared in 2003, so is not exactly new to the scene, not to Japan anyway, and was created by Aki Kondo. The ideas are based upon her wish to enjoy a more relaxing life, so Rilakumma became a reflection of those thoughts. A cute & relaxed bear was born!

Other San-X characters

Another laid back character is the Tarepanda (たれぱんだ). The word "tare" roughly translates to droopy in Japanese, and was inspired by its designer Suemasa Hikaru, who at the time of its creation in the mid 90s, felt tired and worn out.

People felt sympathetic towards the worn out panda, and it became a huge success in Japan, and has since then also gained increased recognition outside Japan.

Other popular animals are the cats such as the sleepy or sockwearing cats Kutsushita Nyanko (靴下にゃんこ), Nyan Nyan Nyanko and the Jewel Cat.

Dogs, frogs and elephants are also a part of San-X's almost endless creations, but this was just a quick look into the universe of Rilakkuma.

So, if you weren't already familiar with Rilakkuma you would now know to cook up some pancakes :-)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      7 years ago

      It's good to keep up with the latest Japanese craze. I know my daughter will like Rilakkuma. She was in love with hello kitty before. Thanks for sharing.

    • ForestBear profile imageAUTHOR

      ForestBear 

      7 years ago

      Thank you nikkiraeink, I appreciate it.

    • nikkiraeink profile image

      nikkiraeink 

      7 years ago from So. Cal.

      Great hub. I have a friend that lives in Japan so now I have something interesting to talk to her about their culture. Thank you! Voted up and awesome.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)