Trans: The snooze button is always on
In Japan, mascots are a pretty big deal. Businesses create cute characters to promote their products, governments design mascots that highlight their town’s local history, culture or attractiveness and corporations like Sanrio and San-X exclusively sell merchandise speckled with characters as a type of soft power in society. Following in the footsteps of other character powerhouses like Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma, there is a new character in town named Gudetama that is slowly taking over Japan and the world.
Gudetama is derived from the word ぐでぐで (gude gude) meaning to lack strength and tama from たまご (tamago), or egg. He has limited motivation, often speaks with a defeatist attitude and literally retreats back to his shell when the pressures of the world become unbearable. In Western eyes, Gudetama may seem like an anomaly to the cheerful mascot image, but as pop culture specialist Matt Alt explains, his demeanor is commonly found in Japanese characters. Mascots also serve as mediators to indirectly address conflict or ease tension that arise when confronting awkward topics.
He is appealing because he embodies the feelings that many experience when lethargic or a little down in the dumps. Most importantly, he shows that it’s ok to express those emotions and let loose!
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