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Gudetama (Japanese: ぐでたま) is a cartoon character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio.[1] The name Gudetama is formed from two parts, the first part, an onomatopoeia “gudegude” (Japanese: ぐでぐで) which is used to describe something lazy and lacking energy. The second part is from the Japanese word “tamago” (Japanese: たまご) which means egg.[2] Therefore Gudetama can be translated to English as "lazy egg". Gudetama's personality and appearance matches its name, as it is a depressed egg.[3]

Gudetama
Gudetama TV Anime Shorts character
Smiling Gudetama Face.svg
Gudetama's face
First appearance2014
Created byNagashima Emi
Voiced byJunko Takeuchi
Information
SpeciesEgg yolk
GenderNonsexual
NationalityJapanese

In contrast to other positive and active characters in Japanese Kawaii culture, Gudetama’s vocal protestations against its lot in life would seem to make it an uncharacteristic hit with supposedly stoic and hardworking Japanese people, and are alternately readable as signs of millennial disenchantment with work, as well as symptoms of depression. But its laziness and depression are the main reasons why it became a symbol of Japanese Kawaii culture and its popularity continues to spread worldwide.[4] Since the creation of this cartoon character, Gudetama has a media franchise of including a toy-line, manga comics, anime series, clothing apparel, product line, and other media.

Originally targeted at the preadolescent market, teens and adults related to Gudetama’s feelings about the difficulty to survive in modern-day society.[3] Accordingly, the target group of Gudetama expanded to millennials and exports to China, Singapore, UK, Korea began. Within two years of Gudetama's introduction, Sanrio has shipped nearly 2000 kinds of themed products in Japan from pencils to suitcases.[5] Meanwhile Gudetama has its own Twitter account with 1.04 million followers, which is the most for all Sanrio characters.[6]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Gudetama was created by 26-year-old Sanrio designer AMY, real name Nagashima Emi (Japanese: 永嶋 瑛美), who graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design in 2012.[7] She usually creates female characters since she started learning how to paint, because she wants to express the beauty of women. The creation of Gudetama was inspired by an egg she was preparing for dinner after a long day at work. "The yolk looked cute...because of its droopy demeanor".[2] She felt that the yolk looked quite like today's young people - feeling tired about life. Therefore, she designed an egg character and build its personality to attract millennials in this generation.[7]

In 2013, Gudetama took part in a food-based competition held by Sanrio to inspire its designers and test out new characters.[8] Gudetama came in second, with the winner of the competition being a cheerful salmon fillet named Kirimichan. Even though Gudetama was less popular than Kirimichan in the beginning, it gained more fans and a higher market value than the cute salmon character.[9]

Gudetama made its debut appearance in 2014 in a TBS TV program called “あさチャン!” (Asa Chan, English: Morning Chance), a morning family news section that airs from 5:25 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.[10] Each episode of the Gudetama series and game segment only lasts for approximately one minute, and in 2017 Gudetama had nearly 1000 episodes.[11] To be more specific, Gudetama appears at about 6:54 in the morning every Monday to Friday and also appears in five-second news updates at 7:00 a.m. Asa Chan viewers can also participate in a game called "Gudetama Chance!". Audiences can earn points by using their remote controls to select the correct card on the television. Those who collect at least 100 points between a particular time can receive a special present.[12]

AppearanceEdit

Gudetama is normally a yolk of a raw egg with a butt crack with a yellow color similar to honey and ripe corn kernels. It has a head with no neck and a body with limbs, but no fingers and toes. Its eyes are drawn like two black beans, appearing lazy. It also has a mouth with no obvious teeth.[3] Gudetama has no gender because it is an unfertilized egg, and is usually depicted laying on an egg white as a bed while using bacon as a blanket. Additionally, there are many other depictions of Gudetama corresponding to the various ways of cooking eggs.[13]

JujuEdit

Juju (Japanese: ぎゅでちゃま) is entirely different to Gudetama even they both are yolks. It shaped almost the same as Gudetama, but it is coloured with a lighter yellow. And its face is traditionally cute face of Sanrio style, which looks energetic and positive to the world. Comparing to Gudetama, Juju is more like a kid with no worries and Gudetama is similar to adults in this generation.[14]

RockEdit

Rock (Japanese: ロック) is an egg cooked with oil, so it has a gold crispy coat with the same face as Gudetama. And it loves rock music just like its name reveals, this hobby forms after it is cooked with hot oil. [14]

Hard-boiled eggEdit

Hard-boiled egg (Japanese: ハードボイルド) is cooked as its name refers, after boiling in hot water for more than 15 minutes it becomes a Hard-boiled egg. And its personality changed to calm and positive, always think about the better side of an event. Its face looks more like a mature adult with thick straight eyebrows.[14]

QuailEdit

Quail (Japanese: うずら) is the egg of quails, whose size is about a quarter the egg. The quail yolk looks the same as Gudetama except the size, but the eggshell is coloured in grey with black spots on the shell. Because the size is small, its voice is too small than no one can understand what it is talking about.

DJ GudetamaEdit

DJ Gudetama (Japanese: DJぐでたま) a rapper egg born from being wrapped. Deliver rhetorical despair according to the beat. Rhythm sensation is good, but the lyrics are backwards. It always lay on its music player and wears its sunglasses.

Nise TamaEdit

Nise Tama (Japanese:  ニセたま) is not an egg, he is a mysterious person with a thin face orange whole body tights. He is good at movements like contemporary dance and he also performed the Gudetama themed dance.  By contrast, he is very cheerful and always encourage Gudetama to positive about its life.

Shapi piyoEdit

Shapi piyo (Japanese: しゃきぴよ) is a chick returned from an unusually mixed fertile egg. He is covered with hairy yellow skin with a pink egg shell as his pants. He believes he can fly, and he is a positive and hot character.

CultureEdit

 
Cosplay of Gudetama at Comikaze Expo in 2015

The culture factor associated with the popular trend of Gudetama can be conclude as two types: kimo-Kawaii culture and Food culture of Japan. These two cultures can explained the unstopping trend of Gudetama and reasons behind its popularity.[5]

Food cultureEdit

Gudetama is created based on an egg, while most characters in western are human characters. This is due the difference between Western and Japan culture, food is treated in a higher situation in Japan than in western countries. Before Gudetama, various egg-based characters like Datemakiman (rolled sweet egg man), Chawanmushimaro (steamed egg pudding), and Tamagoyakikarou (fried egg retainer), famous food characters like Anpanman, a red bean superhero always says "Eat my face!". It is a combination of cuteness and humour, which also succeed in the previous days.[2]

In general, eggs in Japan have a rich social resonance, while new workers are always called "Tamago" or eggs, especially in work contexts. Nagashi Emi also says that the origin of Gudetama is the start-up breakfast for Japanese workers: tamago kake gohan (raw egg on white rice). To be more specific, eggs have rich symbolic and metaphoric potential in terms of the millennial workers that inspired its creation. Gudetama is only the yolk, not the entire egg, implying the selective nature of employment and capitalist valuation, which demands the best of people and discards the rest. Just like eggs, people in today's society are valued for what they can contribute to the society. Therefore, Gudetama has a strong social resonance and earn people's love globally.[15]

Kimo-KawaiiEdit

Differs to other positive and adorable characters in Kawaii culture, Gudetama is more likely to be a symbol of Kimo-Kawaii (which means "gross-cute" or "creepy-cute".) Like other Kimo-Kawaii characters, Gudetama is the combination of cuteness but gross in some content.[16] Gudetama's kimo-kawaii reveals at its depression, which always complain about its hard life.[15]

As for its art style, Gudetama is marked by its ‘adorable’ and simple line drawing, in keeping with the motivation of anime for children, but which also allows easy mass production. The simplified facial expression of Gudetama, with slits for eyes and open mouth, make it seem like a ghost or lost soul from a Christian standpoint, which is why some westerners brand it as kimo-kawaii.[15]

MediaEdit

TV seriesEdit

Gudetama series is broadcast in a morning news section on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings) called “あさチャン!” from Saturday to Monday.[10] Each episode only lasts for approximately one minute and up to 2017 it had nearly 1000 episodes. There are special stories about festivals.[2]

Video GamesEdit

“Gudetama Tap!” is a game created based on the theme of Gudetama, it is a casual game or a collecting game.[17] The game is simple but requires long waiting time, while this game is mainly about use various recipes to cook different kinds of Gudetama. A recipe requires long hours to wait can cook rare Gudetama, and players are aimed to collect all kinds of Gudetama as they can.[18]

 
Gudetama show

Theme ActivitiesEdit

The increasing love of Gudetama among children and young people in this generation leads to an increasing number of Gudetama-themed activities held around the globe.
In 2019, a small island in Sentosa got more than 800 Gudetama inflatables which were used to celebrated the annual Sentosa Funset.[19] Each of the Gudetama inflatables range from 0.9m to 1.5m, while children and adults can all have fun with them and take nice pictures.

ProductsEdit

Originally targeted at preadolescent market, it expanded to millennials with exports to the China, Singapore, UK, Korea, amongst others. Within two years after the introduction of Gudetama, Sanrio has shipped nearly 2000 kinds of themed products in Japan from pencils to suitcases.[6]

 
The Gudetama Air bus A321-200

High-endEdit

In November 2016, EVA Air launched their newest Sanrio-themed airplanes, a Gudetama Jet Comfort Flight. It is an Airbus A321-200 which can carry 184 passengers: 8 business seats and 176 in Economy. It flies between Taiwan and Tokyo. Pillows and chairs are painted with the picture of Gudetama with sunglasses on its hands, illustrating a leisure atmosphere of traveling.[20]

CosmeticsEdit

In 2016, a Korean cosmetics brand called Holika Holika collaborated with Gudetama and invited a Korean actor Jin Soo as the model of this cosmetics series. There are 11 products in this series with adorable faces of Gudetama on the products. [21]  

EstablishmentsEdit

 
Food from VILLAGE VANGUARD DINER x Gudetama OKAWARI

There are Gudetama themed restaurants in Japan, China, Singapore, and London. The restaurants are decorated with the style of Gudetama and provide various egg dishes with the face of Gudetama to the customers. In 2014, Village Vanguard Diner Lumine Machida opened a limited time Gudetama-themed café, offering Gudetama cakes, Gudetama burgers, Gudetama pudding, etc.[22]

In 2016, Shoryu Ramen teamed up with Gudetama and together launched an autumn limited edition menu, with all dishes cooked to look like in the Gudetama series. Gudetama’s face is painted on the bread of burgers and most of the dishes has egg as an ingredient.[23]

ClothesEdit

In March 2016, Stayreal collaborated with Gudetama, and listed a few limited edition T-shirts, caps, cups, masks, etc.

In April 2019, Stayreal had a second collaboration with Gudetama, adding the female brand Rockcoco. The new collaboration was centered around the theme “Lazy is the new busy”.

 
Seibu 30000 series gudetama small train

UNIQLO has collaborated with Sanrio to include Gudetama T-shirts with a new summer range coming in 2019.

Anwar Carrots has released Gudetama collaboration items such as bum bags, hats and shirts.

TrainEdit

In 2018, Seibu Railway collaborated with Gudetama and designed Gudetama-themed train.[24] This train ran along Shinjuku Line and the Haijima Line from mid-August to November. It was then on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line until the end of December. The entire train was painted in yellow with front and the back of the train were painted as Gudetama's face. In the inside the train Gudetama is poking his head from the sides of seats and from above the racks. "Ride with Gudetama, Japan's famous lazy egg, in Tokyo". Ikidane Nippon. Retrieved 2019-06-05.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Signing into eresources, The University of Sydney Library". login.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  2. ^ a b c d Hongo, Jun; Steger, Isabella (2016-01-02). "If Hello Kitty's Too Cheery, This Yolk May Go Over Easier for You". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  3. ^ a b c "One of Japan's most popular mascots is an egg with crippling depression". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  4. ^ "Why the Lazy Egg, Gudetama, Is the Internet's Greatest Star". First We Feast. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  5. ^ a b Bonnah, Theodore (2018-03-06). "Kimo-kawaii Catharsis: millennials, depression and the empty healing of Sanrio's Gudetama". Japan Forum. 0 (0): 1–24. doi:10.1080/09555803.2018.1441170. ISSN 0955-5803.
  6. ^ a b "10 Weird Facts About The Egg With The Butt: Gudetama". TheGamer. 2018-11-11. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  7. ^ a b "女子美術大学 【好き】は【力】". 女子美術大学 【好き】は【力】 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  8. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (2017-04-03). "How Gudetama, a lazy egg yolk with a butt, became an unstoppable cultural phenomenon". Vox. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  9. ^ "食べキャラ総選挙 ~食うか食われるか真剣勝負!~". web.archive.org. 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  10. ^ a b TBS. "あさチャン!|TBSテレビ". TBSテレビ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  11. ^ Machado, Leonor Sá (2018-10-17). "6 Interesting Facts About Gudetama, the Lazy Egg". Macau Lifestyle. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  12. ^ "Sanrio's Gudetama TV Anime Shorts to Premiere on Monday". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  13. ^ "ぐでたま | キャラクター | サンリオ". www.sanrio.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  14. ^ a b c "ぐでたまたち | キャラクター | サンリオ". www.sanrio.co.jp. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  15. ^ a b c Bonnah, Theodore (2019-04-03). "Kimo-kawaii Catharsis: millennials, depression and the empty healing of Sanrio's Gudetama". Japan Forum. 31 (2): 187–210. doi:10.1080/09555803.2018.1441170. ISSN 0955-5803.
  16. ^ B, Rachel (2013-06-18). "Kimokawaii: Both Cute and Gross at the same time". Tofugu. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  17. ^ Pollack, Hilary; Studarus, Laura (2018-05-30). "The New Gudetama Game Made Me Realise that the Lazy Egg Is a True Millennial Icon". Vice. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  18. ^ Studarus), 劳拉·斯图达拉丝(Laura. "这款手游让我意识到懒蛋蛋才是这一代人的代表 | 异视异色|VICE中国|全球青年文化之声:世界在下沉,我们在狂欢". www.vice.cn. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  19. ^ Lim, Sean (2019-03-15). "It's cuteness overload: There are over 880 Gudetama inflatables at Sentosa now – and it won't cost a cent to see them". Business Insider Singapore. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  20. ^ "Relaxed Sanrio character brightens new plane from nose to tail". Tourism News | eTN.travel. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  21. ^ "[MAKE UP] Holika Holika x Gudetama Collection!". UnitedKpop. 2016-09-27. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  22. ^ "最大5時間待ちの「ぐでたま」コラボカフェ第2段が1月26日(月)~ ヴィレッジヴァンガード ダイナー町田ルミネ店にオープン". valuepress (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  23. ^ "Shoryu Ramen x Gudetama | Eat and Drink". London On The Inside. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  24. ^ "スマイルトレイン10th×ぐでたま5th記念キャンペーン‐西武鉄道". スマイルトレイン10th×ぐでたま5th記念キャンペーン‐西武鉄道. Retrieved 2019-06-05.