|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (April 2013)|
Doraemon volume 1 cover
|Genre||Comedy-drama, Comic science fiction|
|Written by||Fujiko Fujio|
|Magazine||(various Shogakukan's kids magazines)|
|Original run||December 1969 – 1996|
|Anime television series|
Doraemon (Japanese: ドラえもん Hepburn: Doraemon ) is a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko Fujio which later became an anime series and an Asian franchise. The series is about an intelligent robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a pre-teen boy, Nobita Nobi (野比 のび太 Nobi Nobita ).
The series first appeared in December 1969, when it was published simultaneously in six different magazines. In total, 1,344 stories were created in the original series, which are published by Shogakukan under the Tentōmushi (てんとう虫) manga brand, extending to forty-five volumes. The volumes are collected in the Takaoka Central Library in Toyama, Japan, where Fujiko Fujio was born. Turner Broadcasting System bought the rights to the Doraemon anime series in the mid-1980s for a US English-language release, but canceled it without explanation before any episodes were aired. However, Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur 2006 (the 26th film in the franchise) got a private screening in Washington, D.C. in November 2008.
A majority of Doraemon episodes are comedies with lessons regarding values such as honesty, perseverance, courage, family and respect for elders. Various environmental issues are often visited, including homeless animals, global warming, endangered species, deforestation, and pollution. Miscellaneous educational topics such as dinosaurs, the flat Earth theory, wormhole traveling, Gulliver's Travels, and the history of Japan are often covered.
Doraemon was awarded the Japan Cartoonists Association Award for excellence in 1973. Doraemon was awarded the first Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1982, and the first Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 1997. In March 2008, Japan's Foreign Ministry appointed Doraemon as the nation's first "anime ambassador." Ministry spokesman explained the novel decision as an attempt to help people in other countries to understand Japanese anime better and to deepen their interest in Japanese culture." The Foreign Ministry action confirms that Doraemon has come to be considered a Japanese cultural icon. In 2002, the anime character was acclaimed as an "Asian Hero" in a special feature survey conducted by Time Asia magazine.
The name "Doraemon" can be translated roughly to 'stray' Unusually, the name "Doraemon" (ドラえもん) is written in a mixture of two Japanese scripts: Katakana (ドラ) and Hiragana (えもん). "Dora" is from "dora neko" (brazen or stray cat, どら猫), and is a corruption of nora (stray). "Emon" 衛門、右衛門 is a component of male given names, such as Goemon, though no longer as popular as in the past. "Dora" is not from dora 銅鑼 meaning gong, but due to the homophony, the series puns on this, with Doraemon loving dorayaki.
Doraemon is sent back in time by a young boy named Sewashi Nobi to improve the circumstances of his great grandfather, Nobita so that his descendants may enjoy a better future. In the original time-line, Nobita experienced nothing but misery and misfortune manifested in the form of poor marks and grades, physical disasters, and bullying throughout his life. This culminates in the burning down of a future business he set up which leaves his family line beset with financial problems. In order to alter history and better the Nobi family's fortunes, Sewashi sent him an anthropomorphic robot cat called Doraemon.
Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces many gadgets, medicines, and tools from the future. The pocket is called yōjigen-pocket (lit. fourth-dimensional pocket). Some of the gadgets (dōgu) are based on real Japanese household devices with fanciful twists, but most are completely science fiction (although some may be based on folklore or religious stories). Thousands of dōgu have been featured in Doraemon. The number of dōgu has been approximated at 4,500. It is this constant variety which makes Doraemon popular even among adult readers/viewers. In the series, the availability of dōgu depends sometimes on the money Doraemon has available, and he often says some dōgu are expensive in the future. The more famous ones include the "bamboo-copter" (very similar to the ones that appears on the older series of Beany and Cecil), a small head accessory that allows flight; the "Anywhere Door", a door that opens up to any place the user wishes; and the "Time Machine". Some of the recurring dōgu appear also in Fujiko F. Fujio's other works such as 21-emon, Kaibutsu-kun, Kiteretsu Daihyakka, Mikio to Mikio or Pāman.
Although he can hear perfectly well, Doraemon has no ears: his robotic ears were eaten by some robotic mice, giving him a series-long phobia of the creatures.
The only main female character is Shizuka Minamoto, who serves as a friendly and romantic interest for Nobita. Shizuka is intelligent and is Nobita's close friend. Nobita's main human and/or rivals friends except Shizuka include Takeshi (nicknamed 'Gian', from the English word giant), a consummate bully, and Suneo, a wealthy but cunning and arrogant brat. There are many recurring supporting characters, such as Dekisugi, an over-achieving boy; Nobita's parents; Gian's mother;gian's sister(jaico); his school teacher; his descendants from the future;Mii chan (doraemon's cat girlfriend);and Doraemon's little sister, Dorami.
The stories are formulaic, usually focused on the everyday struggles of fifth grader Nobita, the protagonist of the story. In a typical chapter, Nobita comes home crying about a problem he faces in school and/or the local neighborhood. After hearing him out, Doraemon often offers helpful advice to his problem(s), but that's never enough for Nobita, who is consistently looking for the "quick, easy" way out (which offers insight to the viewers as to why Nobita's life turned out the way it did). Finally, after Nobita's pleading and/or goading, Doraemon produces a futuristic gadget out of his aforementioned pouch to help Nobita fix his problem, enact revenge, or flaunt to his friends especially Shizuka.
Unfortunately when in possession of the gadget, Nobita usually gets into deeper trouble than before, despite Doraemon's best intentions and warnings. Sometimes, Nobita's friends (usually Suneo or Gian) steal Doraemon's gadgets and end up misusing them. However, by the end of the story, there is usually retribution to the characters who end up misusing them, and a moral is taught.
In December 1969, the Doraemon manga appeared simultaneously in six different children's monthly magazines. The magazines were titled by the year of children's studies, which included Yoiko (good children), Yōchien (nursery school), and Shogaku Ichinensei (first grade of primary school) to Shogaku Yonnensei (fourth grade of primary school). By 1973, the series began to appear in two more magazines, Shogaku Gonensei (fifth grade of primary school) and Shogaku Rokunensei (sixth grade of primary school). The stories featured in each of the magazines were different, meaning the author was originally creating more than six stories each month. In 1977, CoroCoro Comic was launched as a magazine of Doraemon. Original manga based on the Doraemon movies were also released in CoroCoro Comic. The stories which are preserved under the Tentōmushi brand are the stories found in these magazines.
Since the debut of Doraemon in 1969, the stories have been selectively collected into forty-five books published from 1974 to 1996, which had a circulation of over 80 million in 1992. In addition, Doraemon has appeared in a variety of manga series by Shōgakukan. In 2005, Shōgakukan published a series of five more manga volumes under the title Doraemon+ (Doraemon Plus), which were not found in the forty-five Tentōmushi pipi volumes. Many other series have since been produced, some not from official supplies.
Doraemon was discontinued in two media because readers were advancing in grades and an ending was believed to be needed. These two are not reprinted.
- In the March 1971 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei: Because visitors from the future were causing too much trouble, the government in the 22nd Century passed a bill to ban time-travelling altogether, meaning Doraemon would have to return to his time era. After explaining him, he leaves Nobita.
- In the March 1972 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei: Doraemon, for some reason, had to go back to the future but fakes a mechanical problem so that Nobita would let him go. Nobita believes him and promises to wait until Doraemon gets well. Realizing that Nobita can handle his departure, Doraemon tells the truth and Nobita accepts. Doraemon returns to the future.
The third ending was actually meant to be the official ending due to low TV ratings and the Fujiko Fujio duo being busy with other works, but Doraemon did not leave their minds and restarted in the next month's issue. In 1981, this episode was made into anime (called "Doraemon Comes Back"), and in 1998, this was released as an anime movie.
- In the March 1973 issue of the magazine Shogaku 4-nensei, Nobita again returns home after losing a fight against Gian. Doraemon then explains that he has to return. Nobita tries to have Doraemon stay but after talking it over with his parents, he accepts Doraemon's departure. They take a last walk in the park. After they split up, Nobita encounters Gian and gets into a fight again. After a long duel with Nobita trying to win at all costs so that Doraemon can leave without worries, Gian gave up (which gave Nobita the win) because no matter what, Nobita refuses to stay down. Doraemon finds Nobita passed out and takes him home. Sitting beside the sleeping Nobita, Doraemon returns to the future. This story was reprinted in the last chapter of the manga Book 6.
When the Fujiko Fujio duo broke up in 1987, the very idea of an official ending to the series was never discussed. Since Fujiko F. died in 1996 before any decisions were reached, any "endings" of Doraemon are fan fiction. However, it is apparent from many episodes and movies where Nobita travels to the future that in the end he does marry Shizuka, leads a happy life and separates with Doraemon, although Nobita and his friends fondly remember him.
Television series 
After a brief and unpopular animated series in 1973 by Nippon Television, Doraemon remained fairly exclusive in manga from until 1979 when a newly formed animation studio, Shin-Ei Animation (Now owned by TV Asahi) produced an anime series of Doraemon. This series became incredibly popular, and ended with 1,787 episodes on March 25, 2005.
Celebrating Doraemon's anniversary, a new Doraemon series began airing on TV Asahi on April 15, 2005 with new voice actors and staff, and updated character designs.
Feature films 
In 1980, Toho released the first of a series of annual feature length animated films based on the lengthly special volumes published annually. Unlike the anime and manga (some based on the stories in select volumes), they are more action-adventure oriented and have more of a shōnen demographic, taking the familiar characters of Doraemon and placing them in a variety of exotic and perilous settings. Nobita and his friends have visited the age of the dinosaurs, the far reaches of the galaxy, the heart of darkest Africa (where they encountered a race of sentient bipedal dogs), the depths of the ocean, and a world of magic. Some of the films are based on legends such as Atlantis, and on literary works such as Journey to the West and Arabian Nights. Some films also have serious themes, especially on environmental topics and the use of technology. Overall, the films have a somewhat darker tone in their stories, unlike the manga and anime.
The most recent Doraemon film, Doraemon: Nobita no Himitsu Dōgu Museum, was released on March 9, 2013. With this film, Doreamon has surpassed Godzilla in terms of overall ticket sales for a film franchise as Toho's most lucrative movie property. The 33 year series (1980-2013) has sold a combined 100 million tickets vs. the 50 year Godzilla series (1954-2004) which sold a combined 99 million tickets.
Video Games 
There are a total of 63 Japanese-only video games ranging from platformer games to RPG games, that began with the Emerson's Arcadia 2001 system. Doraemon can also be seen in Namco's popular Taiko no Tatsujin rhythm game series like Taiko no Tatsujin (11 - 14 only), Metcha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Nanatsu no Shima no Daibouken, Taiko no Tatsujin Wii, Taiko no Tatsujin Plus, and Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Yokai Daikessen!!. The Chinese version of Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker contained a Doraemon-themed expansion pack.
Awards and honours 
On 22 April 2002, on the special issue of Asian Hero in TIME Magazine, Doraemon was selected as one of the 22 Asian Heroes. Being the only anime character selected, Doraemon was described as "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia". In 2005, the Taiwan Society of New York selected Doraemon as a culturally significant work of Japanese otaku pop-culture in its exhibit Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, curated by renowned artist Takashi Murakami.
On September 3, 2012, Doraemon was granted official residence in the city of Kawasaki, one hundred years before he was born.
Part of Japanese society 
Doraemon is a term of common knowledge in Japan. Newspapers also regularly make references to Doraemon and his pocket as a something with the ability to satisfy all wishes. Other characters in the series are also referenced frequently on TV shows with similar looking casts. Some magazines have used the analogy that America is the Takeshi of the world and Japan is his sidekick Suneo.
Doraemon is a cultural phenomenon in Japan and can be seen in many places. For example, Doraemon is used as a promotional character by Art Hikkoshi Center (アート引越センター Āto hikkoshi sentā ), by a moving company, and by Cocos, a restaurant chain.
Doraemon also appears in appeals for charity, the "Doraemon Fund". Doraemon toys and novelties are also often found in Japan, with literally thousands of items for sale. Doraemon, Nobita, and the other characters also appear in various educational manga. Doraemon is also mentioned in several anime and manga by other manga artists.
Doraemon is referenced in the current Blue Man Group show running in Tokyo. The Blue Men play a short snippet of the show's theme song, and one dons Doraemon's beanie.
The Japanese-American guitar company, ESP Guitars, makes a Doraemon shaped guitar. Mamotte! Lollipop referenced Doraemon in a chapter about a bath house. The music video for the single "From a Distance" off of the Bicycles & Tricycles album by ambient house act, The Orb revolves around Doraemon.
Sumo wrestler Takamisugi was nicknamed "Doraemon" because of his strong resemblance to the character.
In late 2011, Shogakukan and Toyota joined forces to create a series of live-action commercials as part of Toyota's ReBorn ad campaign. The commercials depict the characters nearly 20 years older. Hollywood actor Jean Reno plays Doraemon.
See also 
- List of non-Japanese Doraemon versions
- List of Doraemon media
- Kiteretsu Daihyakka, a similar manga by Fujiko F. Fujio
- Dorabase, a spin-off about robot cats who play on a baseball team.
- Nintama Rantarō
- "Fujiko F. Fujio Museum". Japan Reference. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- "小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
- Yamaguchi, Mari. "Doraemon appointed Japan's first ever cartoon ambassador," China Post, March 20, 2008.
- "Doraemon named 'anime ambassador'," Japan Today. March 15, 2008.
- Iyer, Pico. "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia." Time (Asia).
- "All About Doraemon the robotic cat (Chinese)". Kukudm.com. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- Sekiguchi, Toko. "Godzilla Loses Top Spot to Kittybot Doraemon". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- Event information, News about the musical
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- Iyer, Pico (April 29, 2002). "The Cuddliest Hero in Asia". Time Asia. Archived from the original on February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- ドラえもん、初の「アニメ文化大使」に任命". (March 15, 2008) AFPBB News. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- (Japanese)Shingo, Takaoka . "Secret power of Otaku culture Spirits". The WASEDA Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "第1回 マンガ大賞 藤子・Ｆ・不二雄 『ドラえもん』（小学館）" (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- The Independent. 29 August 2011 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/anime-star-doraemon-to-have-own-museum-2345688.html
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- "Doraemon becomes official resident of Kawasaki a century before his birth". Japan Times. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Jean Reno Goes to Olympics as Doraemon in New Live-Action Ad - News". Anime News Network. 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Doraemon|
- (Japanese) Doraemon Official Website
- (Japanese) Doraemon Movie Official Website (1980 - 2009)
- (Japanese) Doraemon Official TV Asahi Website
- (Japanese) Doraemon features for adults (Opens January and closes May every year)
- (Japanese) Doraemon Secret Dōgu List, a comprehensive list of dōgu featured in Doraemon
- (Japanese) Doraemon English Comics from Shogakukan; Complete set
- (Italian) Doraemon nel Paese Preistorico (Nobita no Kyouryuu - Hiroshi Fukutomi, 1980)
- Doraemon (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia