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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogDomo-Kun: Japan’s Lovable TV Mascot

Domo-Kun: Japan’s Lovable TV Mascot

By Thuy Fang
July 01, 2022

There’s no doubt that Japan is famous for having a lot of kawaii and special mascots, like Kumamon and Funassyi. In Japan, a mascot can be a symbol of some spiritual thing, a prefecture, a company, or even events, like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics mascots. Many of them have already become popular all around the world both in the past and the present, and it would be a crime not to include Domo-kun from this mascot list. 

Domo-kun has been one of Japan’s favorite TV mascots for a long time, and he also has a huge number of fans from all around the world, especially from the US. So why not take this chance to know more about this fun guy and the reason why he became so popular overseas? In this article, we will show you several fun facts about the lovable Domo-kun! 

The Origin Of Domo-Kun

A cute Domo-kun plushie wearing a knit cap and tank top and holding a fork and knife in an airport in front of airport seats.
This cute little guy is truly an icon among Japanese mascots and there are several reasons why. Image via Shutterstock

Towards the end of 1998, Domo-kun first appeared in a stop motion animation, which the biggest Japanese public broadcaster, NHK, produced to celebrate the 10 years anniversary of its establishment. Despite the fact that Domo-kun had already appeared in the first episode of the stop motion series, his name was first revealed in the opening greeting “Domo, konnichiwa!” (Hello, Domo) in the second version of this interesting animation. 

The famous animator Tsuneo Gōda mentioned that he created and designed Domo-kun, as well as the story, when he was thinking and sketching a mascot with circles and squares. Sure enough, the lively Domo-kun was born and is now the official TV mascot of NHK ever since 2004.  

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The Story of Domo-Kun

A man holds a domo-kun plushie in his hands while standing on a train station platform.
Nowadays, there’s plenty of merch featuring this character, including t-shirts, hats, and of course, cuddly plushies. Image via Shutterstock

This lovable TV mascot comes in the form of a big, square, brown monster with a mouth that is full of sharp teeth and always wide open. However, different from the image of any kind of scary monster, Domo is actually a stuffed monster who looks very cute and a bit funny.

Domo-kun was born from an egg that rolled into the underground house of a grandpa rabbit – Mr. Usagi. After breaking free from the egg, Domo-kun lived with Mr. Usagi in his cozy rabbit hole. While living there, Domo kun really loved watching TV, and now, inserts himself into various types of television programs, like rock shows or flying in space. Every day, he has good times and new experiences with many of his other friends, such as bat mother, bat child, and the lady weasel – Tashanna.

As Domo is unable to speak any language, he can only communicate with the others with cute growling and low roaring. Other than that, Domo kun has also left an impression and made the audience laugh because of the fact that he sweats easily and passes gas frequently whenever he is worried. 

Want to look into more kawaii mascots? Here are ten of the cutest Japanese mascots who rep their regions and prefectures!

The Rise of The Square Mascot

A Domo-kun plushie stands in front of a linoleum background with a hand helping him to stand.
He really does have such a simple design, but it’s also so cute, especially in plushie form. Image via Shutterstock

After being promoted to the position of the official mascot of the biggest national television station in Japan, Domo-kun acted as a vital ambassador, representing the company in multiple commercial activities and public events. That can explain why Domo-kun’s popularity quickly spread out all over Japan.

Thanks to the impressive development of the Internet and foreign videos being readily available, people from foreign countries (mostly English-speaking countries) are aware of the hilarious and outstanding appearance of Domo-kun thanks to a well-known parody video series. Plus, his fame increased even more when his show was first streamed by the renowned kids’ channel, Nickelodeon. Now, he’s debuted in nearly 200 countries and regions and has received so much love from his global audience.

Domo-kun’s popularity can be seen in many ways and in various forms of entertainment. This famous character has shown up on souvenir gifts like stickers, clothing, and plushies with both diverse and unique styles of design. On top of that, the giant Japanese game company Nintendo also developed many Domo video games for Nintendo DS with a variety of genres, ranging from simulation to sport.

We hope that you got to know a little more about this famous character in the Japanese mascot world. Did you know about Domo-kun before? How do you feel about this super cute mascot? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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