4/FEB/2009 on air
Itās apparent that characters are in the middle of a fad in Japan. Characters are not just cute but they have some healing effects, and so, they are loved by anyone, any generation, male or female, children or adultsā¦
In fact character license business has a huge market as much as 2 trillion yen. Tokyo Kawaii TV checked out how many people walking around Shibuya-Harajuku area had character goods, and the result goes 85% out of 55 people. Speaking of women, 100% of them had something related with characters.
So the Tokyo Kawaii TV reporters (Mr. Ikki & Beni-chan) tried to make original characters, receiving advice from professional character designers. There is a point that makes characters kawaii (cute) and successful; the black eyesĀ do not tell whether the character is happy, sad or angry. Big round black eyes are quite neutral and can be accepted under any situations, with any emotions. If one feels happy and she sees the character, it also seems happy. If one feels sad, then the character also seems sad. This is the trick!
Characters own potential success. There are hundreds of local characters available that are made exclusively for the local event for example. Hikonyan is a mascot character from Shiga prefecture in Japan. Itās one of good examples of successful local character. Hikonyan is male. On Valentine’s Day, hundreds of chocolates are sent to the city hall where he belongs to. He is that famous! He earns 17 million yen from his original goods. Such local characters are usually designed by someone chosen from public offering. It could be grade school little boy or girl, up until say 95 years old man.
Domo-kun is a successful NHK TV character nowadays on TV inside and outside Japan. Domo appears on TV in 151 countries! āDomo brought us overseas, and we are grateful for him.ā says the designer of Domo.
At San-X company office in Tokyo, you can see a human scaled Rilakkuma. Rilakkuma has earned 1000 million yen for the past 5 years. Hereās again saying that the point for the hit is that personality of the character must be something empathic. Preparing sub-character is also effective, because 2 characters make a story. Thatās so true, huh?
Super Dollfie, from Kyoto, Japan has recorded smash hit worldwidely. There are girls who wanna be Super Dollfie, and in NY you can see girls holding doll party as in the show.
Being influenced with this hit, doll-like make-ups are getting popular. Fashion brands also pay attention to the trend. They make 1/6 scaled clothes for Momoko dollĀ and sell the dolls wearing the brandās clothes. Momoko doll is, so to speak, dress-up doll for adults (mostly 20ās & 30ās). The strategy is from character fashion to real fashion trend. People who like Momoko doll, would be willing to wear the same clothes as the dolls.
Additionally and finally, let me share Hikonyan, a cute character that stands for Hikone city, Shiga prefecture, Japan.