Monchhichi (モンチッチ? Monchitchi) is a line of Japanese stuffed toy monkeys from the Sekiguchi Corporation, first released in 1974. They were licensed by Mattel in the United States until 1985, and later distributed worldwide directly by Sekiguchi. Four television series were produced based on the characters: The Japanese anime series Monchhichi Twins (ふたごのモンチッチ? Futago no Monchhichi) in 1980, produced by Tokyo 12 Channel (now TV Tokyo), the American cartoon series Monchhichis in 1983, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, the French cartoon series Kiki, le Kiki de tous les Kiki in 2001, produced by Ben-J Productions, and Monchhichi (モンチッチ? Monchhichi) in 2005, by Kids Station.
The Monchhichi franchise is held by the Sekiguchi Corporation, a famous doll company, located in Tokyo, Japan. Monchhichi was created by Yoshiharu Washinoワシの良春 (わしの よしはる) on January 25, 1974, as an improvement to the already successful "Kuta Kuta Monkey" (くたくたモンキー (Exhausted monkey)). Sekiguchi claims they created these characters in order to inspire respect and love in the young (Japanese) children and adults, their name is derived from the words "Mon" which translates to "Mine" in French and "Chhichi" which closely resembles the sound a child's pacifier would produce according to Japanese phonetics, also the resulting word has a similar sound to the word "Monkey" in English.
The dolls were successful in Japan, and the animated TV series, Futago no Monchhichi (ふたごのモンチッチ, Monchhichi Twins) which ran in 1980, helped increase its popularity even further.
Exportation of the doll line started in 1975, towards West Germany and Austria. The following years would see the Monchhichi line marketed in all of Western Europe. The original name was changed to "Chicaboo" in the United Kingdom, to "Mon Cicci" in Italy, to "Kiki" in France, to "Bølle" in Denmark and to "Moncsicsi" in Hungary. The height of the Monchhichi dolls' popularity was in Germany during the 1980s, surpassing even the Japanese figure sales during this period.
The Monchhichi doll line reached the North American shores in 1980. Mattel bought the license for the toy line. The American cartoon series Monchhichis was produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1983 and aired on ABC (as part of The Monchhichis/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show) in an effort to promote the doll line. The line was dropped by Mattel due to poor sales in 1985, but was reintroduced during Monchhichi's 30 anniversary in 2004 by Sekiguchi. As of 2013, Monchhichi dolls are still available in the United States from retailers such as Target.
As of 2015, Monchchichi is still popular in Germany and finds a full rack space across toy shops. Many variants of Monchhichi as well as sizes have emerged. For example, the original Monchhichi is still available under the Classic variant in 10 cm, 20 cm, 24 cm, 45 cm and even 80 cm sizes. Also other variants like Boutique (Monchhichi in various dress styles), Mother Care (Monchhichi with a young one in her front pocket), 40th Anniversary edition are available. Now even dollhouses for Monchhichi are available.
1980 anime series
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hiroshi Jinsenji|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||February 4, 1980 – August 1, 1980|