San-X

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Various San-X characters, including Kogepan, Monokuro Boo, Wanroom, Tarepanda and Afro Ken

San-X (サンエックス San Ekkusu?) is a Japanese stationery company that notably creates and markets cute characters such as Tarepanda, Rilakkuma, Kogepan. The characters are usually anthropomorphic representations of animals or inanimate objects. Each character has its own quirky traits; for example, Momobuta is a pig with a head shaped like a peach, who enjoys karaoke and painting her nails. San-X head designer and creator of Tarepanda, Hikaru Suemasa said in 1999: "It's not just being cute. There is something different - a relaxed look, powerless".[1]

San-X characters can be found on stationery sets and pencils, as small figurines, keychains, and stuffed toys. They are sold as blind boxes, gashapon and in UFO catchers and other prize machines in Japan's arcades. There are also anime series, video games and children's books featuring the characters.

History[edit]

San-X was founded in April 1932 as a privately owned business under the name Chida Handler. In October 1942, Chida Handler became a limited company. Chida Handler's name was changed to San-X in May 1973.[2] The name San-X derives from an earlier logo which was a row of three X characters. San is three in Japanese.

Before Tarepanda became a hit, most of San-X products did not rely on characters. They continue to sell products like stationery with scenic shots and illustrations. In 1987 San-X created Pinny-Mu, their biggest character until Tarepanda was created in 1995. After Tarepanda became a success in 1998 San-X turned into a full-scale character development and licensing company. In 2003 Rilakkuma was created and in 2005 Mamegoma, which was adapted to an anime series in 2009.

In 2010 The New York Times described San-X as a smaller, nimbler company, with potential to surpass the Sanrio corporation. The San-X characters Tarepanda and Rilakkuma were described as "huge hits in Japan" that were rising in the Character Databank character popularity charts while Sanrio's Hello Kitty character slumped in popularity, especially in Japan.[3]

List of characters[edit]

Animals[edit]

The Rilakkuma display at Kiddy Land in Harajuku, Tokyo
  • Afro Ken - a dog with an afro[4]
  • Abauchuu - A young mouse with a sloppy nature.
  • Azarashi Chap - A seal.
  • Berry Puppy - cute white dog that really likes strawberries[4]
  • Buru Buru Dog - an extremely tiny, constantly trembling and weeping dog[5]
  • Chawanko - A rice bowl puppy.
  • Cherry Berry - Two adorable rabbits with cherries and berries.
  • Chibi Hamucha - An itty-bitty little hamster who loves clovers.
  • Chibi Moomo. - A small cow.
  • Chiikaba - A really little hippopotamus. His head is heavy, his mouth is big. There are many of them.
  • Chiwawanko - Chihuahua dogs.
  • Chocopa - The panda child, Chocopa, loves chocolate. Everyday, everyday, she passed time and only ate chocolate. Then one day... she bit into the milk chocolate that she loves. Then...what? Whaaat? In less than no time at all she became brown! She got stuck in this bear form!!
  • Chou-Fleur - Chou-Fluer is 'cauliflower' in French. A charming female pink fluffy rabbit who looks like a cauliflower.
  • Dakkusukun - Two minature dachshunds carry guitars on their backs and can't survive without them.
  • Dande no Kimochi - A lion who shows his mood through his dandelion-coloured mane.
  • Dapan - A strong team formed for the World Cup.
  • Ecoala - Carefree koala.
  • Flying Elephant - an elephant that can fly using a bubble that he blows from his nose, released in February 2003.[6]
  • Fukofuko Usagi - A fluffy rabbit who loves taking baths.
  • Funyofunyo - A mysterious character who looks like a jellyfish. Always carefree nad having a good time.
  • Hanakobuta - A pig who talks with his nose instead of his mouth.
  • Hariinu - A hedgehog dog.
  • Harinezutan - a fashion-conscious hedgehog character, launched in February 2003.[6]
  • Homekoro - a round, brown Pomeranian dog.[7]
  • Hoshikuma - A star bear.
  • Jewel Cat - a pretty cat whose eyes are made of jewels and lives in a jewel box[8]
  • Iiwaken - a Shiba Inu
  • Kamonohashikamo - a platypus
  • Kawaii Collection - a collection of 7 rabbit characters, released in April 2010[9]
  • Kyoo Usa - a rabbit
  • Kerori - a frog that changes color according to its mood[10]
  • Key Rabbits - Two rabbits who are always polishing their important keys.
  • Kireizukin Seikatsu - a lazy raccoon named Mar who transforms into a hard-worker when wearing a red hood.[11]
  • Koinu no Toromi - a French bulldog puppy who looks like mochi and moves slowly [12]
  • Kutsushita Nyanko - a black cat wearing socks on his every leg.
  • Mamegoma - little seals that enjoy eating soybeans
  • Marimokochan - seaweed balls made from marimo [13]
  • Mixed Cats - a group of cats drawn like watercolors originally created for use on stationery[14][15]
  • Momobuta - a pig with a head shaped like a peach, who enjoys karaoke and painting her nails[16]
  • Monokuro Boo - a black pig and a white pig. There is usually a bee buzzing around them, and the phrase "Simple is Best" or "Are you happy?"[17]
  • Nakayoshi Net - a collection of happy animals[18]
  • Nemui Neko - a sleepy cat[19]
  • Nijinomukō - another collection of happy animals, drawn in a more sketchy style[20]
  • Norucchi - a tiny, fluffy yellow cat, often seen with Kutsuitanyanko, but smaller.[21]
  • Nyan Nyan Nyanko - small, usually white kittens that imitate various items, most commonly food. They also appear as everyday items, such as toys, school supplies, or household necessities.[22][23] The term "Nyan" or "nyaa" is a Japanese onomatopoeic word for a cat's meow. "Ko" is a word which in Japanese connotates with "child" or "young." Together they make the childish/cutesy word for kitten.
  • Nyanpuku - a good luck cat god which resembles a maneki-neko[24]
  • Piggy Girl - Nails today, shopping tomorrow. For the sake of being cute everyday, she does her best with all her might. A young female pig.
  • Pinny Mu - a woodland bear[25]
  • Rilakkuma - a brown bear who lives the house of an office lady (OL) named Kaoru[26]
  • Sumikkogurashi - a group of animals with personality issues that like corners [27]
  • Tarepanda (or Tare Panda) - a lazy panda[28][29]
  • Tohoho na Dog - a dog with a tire on his head[30]
  • Tsugi no Hi Kerori - A frog of tomorrow. Kerori is either white or green depending on his mood.
  • Wan Wan Wanco - a collection of dogs, real dog photos with drawn backgrounds[31]
  • Wara Neko - a black cat
  • Zombbit - rabbits that became zombies [32]

Food[edit]

  • Amagurichan - a chestnut character.[33][34] Amaguri (which translates as sweet chestnut) is a popular snack in Asia. Amagurichan is always energetic, and the phrases 'eat me' and 'peel my skin' are his favourites. He is happy but doesn't have a very patient character and runs away when people don't eat it quick enough. Chestnuts from Tienjin, which is Amagurichan's home, have natural sweetness and roast deliciously.
  • Cheese Family - a collection of cheese characters.[35][36]
  • Ginshari-san - a little rice grain who is often found at the bottom of the rice bowl. It is believed that he is always found there, because he doesn't want to be eaten. By hiding in the bottom of the bowl, he gets to take a nap and avoid chopsticks.[37][38]
  • Goringo - a yellow girl apple and a red boy apple[39]
  • Kinakochan to Ankochan - Little soy bean flour and little red bean paste who are close friends.
  • Kogepan - a burnt red bean bread bun who lives in a bakery, trying to fit in and make friends with the other bread items. Happiness for him is always short-lived, so he has the tendency to get drunk on milk.[40]
  • Mamepyon - a pea family.[41]
  • Mikanbouya (or Mikan Bouya) - a tangerine who likes candy and dislikes cold weather.[42][43]
  • Sentimental Circus - After the whole town is felt asleep quietly, neglected abandoned toys are awaking one by one and gathering together.
  • Soreike Otamachan! - an onion character who is genuine but overly sentimental.[44]
  • Tenshinchan - a dim sum character, released in September 2005 [45]
  • Tomato Boy - a red tomato-headed character with a mouth like that of a chicken beak
  • Tottemo Kantankun - Tottemo Kantankun's favorite phrase is "Simple, simple." The black seems a little overdone, but look! Unexpectedly, he can be simple while trying to do things. Tottemo Kantankun is simple everyday! Everyone, let's have fun being simple ♪
  • Tsurutsuru Ramenchan - a ramen character, released in July 2003 [46]
  • Yōguru-kun - a yogurt character, launched in May 2003.[47]
  • Yunomichan - a Japanese tea character designed as a yunomi teacup, released in February 2002 [48]

Objects[edit]

  • Bonsaisan - A conceited moss bonsai. For some reason, you cannot hate him. He's a bonsai but it seems he won't be able to heal you.
  • HAPPY SUNsan - A happy sun.
  • Ishikorokun - A little rolling rock.
  • Neko no Panya - Cat's Bread Shop.
  • Tissue-san - a box of tissues. His friends include a roll of toilet paper, a pair of pocket tissues and a box of ecologically friendly tissues made of 50% recycled paper.[49]
  • Wanroom - a collection of household items with dog faces. Their slogan is "Let's enjoy Wanroom life!"[50] Each Wanroom character has a name like Inusofa (a couch), Wano'clock (an alarm clock) and Sabowan (a cactus).[51]

Spirits[edit]

  • Atsugari-san - a spirit who hates the cold and loves hot dumplings. He's a faerie who is found at places where the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius - like tea, hot food and such. He is also called "Hot Head". He operates in groups, and perspires 10 buckets of sweat per day. He's not of danger to mankind - although not of much use either. Atsugari-san is afraid of Samugari-san, who is his exact opposite.[52]
  • Baketamachan - Little ghost egg. He is extremely runny and half-cooked. His hobby is changing his form.
  • Beer-chan- a 20-year-old beer fairy who enjoys beer.[53]
  • Boku Tsucchii - a tsuchinoko character that loves shimeji mushrooms, released February 2002[54]
  • Chokotto Iikoto! - A little kappa who lives in my house. Able to put me at ease with a single heart-warming word.
  • Nagomimakuri - a friendly spirit who lives in clear waters and deep in the forest. It resembles a salamander but is still different in some ways. Her main features is her soft form and the way she moves around. It leads a lazy life in the nature and rolls here and there slowly.[55]
  • Oyasumi Bakura - a tapir, baku dream spirit who looks like a pillow[56]
  • Sabokappa - a kappa combined with a cactus. The toys come with small scented packets so they can be used as air fresheners.[57]
  • Samugari-san - a spirit who loves the cold and is the antagonist of Atsugari-san. He's a faerie who is found at places where the temperature below zero and stays beside people who tell scary stories or boring jokes. He is also called "Cold Head" and is only seen when captured inside ice cubes. As soon as the ice melts he vanishes. He operates on his own. His weakness is that if his scarf (which is made from his hair) is removed, he'll catch a cold. His favorite food is jelly. Samugari-san dislikes Atsugari-san.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wired 7.12: Cute Inc
  2. ^ San-X Profile http://web.archive.org/web/20080821233019/http://www.san-xdirect.com/characters/
  3. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (May 14, 2010). "In Search of Adorable, as Hello Kitty Gets Closer to Goodbye". NYTimes.com. 
  4. ^ a b "About Afro Ken". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  5. ^ "Buru Buru Dog profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  6. ^ a b San-Xネット: フレンドリーミックス (Japanese)
  7. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  8. ^ San-xDirect.com: The Leading Sanx Direct Site on the Net
  9. ^ San-Xネット カワイイコレクション (Japanese)
  10. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  11. ^ "San-x kireizukinseikatu". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  12. ^ "こいぬのとろみ". San-X.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  13. ^ "まりもこちゃん". San-X.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  14. ^ "MIXED CATS Profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  15. ^ "Mixed Cat". Sunhingtoys.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  16. ^ "Momobuta". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  17. ^ "Monokuro Boo". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  18. ^ "Nakayoshi Net". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  19. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/@0_mall/rindoukan/cabinet/b-0333/img55502670.jpg
  22. ^ "Nyan Nyan Nyanko - The cats that are good at imitation!". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  23. ^ Nyan Nyan Nyanko's official page on the San-X website
  24. ^ "にゃんぷく". San-X.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  25. ^ "Pinny mu Profile". Rmlicensing.com. 1987-12-18. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  26. ^ "RME san-x". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. [dead link]
  27. ^ "すみっコぐらし". San-X.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  28. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  29. ^ "TarePanda Profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  30. ^ San-xDirect.com: The Leading Sanx Direct Site on the Net
  31. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  32. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  33. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  34. ^ "Amaguri chan profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  35. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  36. ^ "Cheese Family Profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  37. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  38. ^ "Ginsyari san". Sunhingtoys.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  39. ^ "San-X Goringo Apple". Shopkawaii.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  40. ^ "Kogepan profile". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  41. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  42. ^ "Mikanbouya concepts". Rmlicensing.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  43. ^ "Mikanbouya". Sunhingtoys.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  44. ^ "Soreike Otamachan! - quirky // a guide to San-X and their characters". Cupped-expressions.net. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  45. ^ http://www.san-x.co.jp/item/it0508_01.html (Japanese)
  46. ^ http://www.san-x.co.jp/newcha/new106.html (Japanese)
  47. ^ Yōguru-kun on San-X website (Japanese)
  48. ^ http://www.san-x.co.jp/newcha/new56.html (Japanese)
  49. ^ Tissuesan Character Information
  50. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  51. ^ "San-Xネット ワンルームメイト". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  52. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  53. ^ [2][dead link]
  54. ^ "キャラミックス". 
  55. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  56. ^ "とれたて!情報局 ハイパー: とっておき新キャラの壁紙が登場!". Blog.san-x.co.jp. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  57. ^ "San-Xネット". San-x.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 

External links[edit]