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  • This is Gudetama.

  • It's an egg yolk with a little butt crack.

  • Gudetama looks like a character someone gave up onit has limbs but no fingers or toes.

  • It has a mouth but no teethand yet people can't get enough of it.

  • You can find it on backpacks, cups, airplanes, credit cards, and it even has its own themed cafe.

  • But Gudetama's cute looks aren't the driving force behind its insane popularity.

  • Its main attraction is its lazy personality.

  • Gudetama comes from a Japanese company called Sanrio.

  • You might have heard of them.

  • They're the creators behind Hello Kitty.

  • In 2013, Sanrio held a company wide competition to come up with a food-based character.

  • And once people voted, Gudetama didn't end up on top.

  • Kirimichan, the salmon fillet came in first.

  • We actually started to release products based on the salmon fillet and its friends.

  • Gudetama, the lazy egg came in second, but we also released products based on Gudetama, and it really really took off.

  • The appeal of Gudetama's melancholy stands in contrast to the American concept of cuteness, which is pretty straightforward.

  • The idea of cute represents goodness and optimism, while pessimism tends to define evil.

  • This is evident in some of Disney's early films.

  • Oh, they do look very delicious!

  • WITCH: Yes...

  • As you can seethere's a clear divide between good and evil.

  • Villains are usually depicted as unappealing, scary, and old, draped in shadows and dark colors.

  • They are meant to be identified as evil, which means that they can never be cute.

  • But in Japan, there's more of a gray area to this.

  • The word "kawaii" is widely used to describe the quality of being like a child.

  • Which means that you can be cute and lazy at the same time.

  • The term emerged in the 1970s and became a big part of Japanese culture.

  • It was shown through fashion, handwriting, and even behavior.

  • And many Japanese artists and academics believed that this popular culture around cuteness happened for a reason.

  • In Japan, the kawaii culture is often linked to the country's post-WWII years.

  • TRUMAN: ... a message from the Japanese government.

  • I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration...

  • The idea is that because of its trauma and defeat, the country leaned into its vulnerability.

  • And since then, the concept of kawaii has grown and even formed smaller subgroups.

  • This is kimo-kawaii which is sometimes also called gro-kawaii.

  • And there's Yuru-kawaii.

  • Yuru means relaxed and calm.

  • According to cartooning expert Aya Kakeda, this particular group became popular because of the stress in modern society.

  • She points out that in the US, people are drawn to spas and meditation for relaxation.

  • But in Japan, Yuru's calm appearance brings comfort to a lot of people.

  • You can also see a shift in Sanrio's characters throughout the years.

  • They've started giving them a personality to make them more relatable.

  • When Hello Kitty came out in 1974 — she was more traditionally cute than Gudetama.

  • But she has remained somewhat emotionless.

  • She doesn't even have a mouth to smile or frown with.

  • And that makes her more of a blank canvas; she can be whatever we want her to be.

  • But many people feel a connection with Gudetama because of its gloomy personality.

  • This approach to cuteness extends beyond appearancesit evokes a reaction.

  • These characters can make you laugh, or feel relaxed, and you can relate to them by observing their personality.

  • So at a time of confusion and turmoil all around the world.

  • Maybe this is just what we need: An egg yolk with a little bum, that's just done dealing with life.

This is Gudetama.

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B2 Vox gudetama kawaii egg yolk cuteness yolk

How a melancholy egg yolk conquered Japan

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    PC home posted on 2020/09/07
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