ARNOLD GATILEP / CC BY 2.0 Gudetama exists in many forms of merchandise, including plushies.
Sanrio, the Tokyo based toy and television conglomerate, is famous for creating iconic characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody and Gudetama. This last one you might not have heard of yet.
The anthropomorphic egg, much like most college students, is famous for always wanting a nap and never wanting to go outside. It has become a worldwide hit, its distressed face appearing on T-shirts, phone cases and many other things. It’s even made its way to the U.S., appearing in stores such as Hot Topic and on the notebooks and keychains of people such as yours truly.
I don’t know what it is about a humanoid egg yolk refusing to get out of bed, but I, along with thousands of others, simply cannot get enough.
So where did it come from? The idea of Gudetama was hatched as part of a Sanrio-wide Food Character Election in 2013. Participants of this contest were tasked with coming up with cute, food based characters (specific, I know). However, our lazy egg did not win the popular vote. Instead Kirimichan, an anthropomorphic salmon fillet, won. Gudetama, however, placed second, and a small amount of its products were rolled out along with Kirimichan’s.
And then the squishy little blob that we all know and love became a sensation, particularly with older demographics. As the fillet faded into the background, Gudetama continued to grow in popularity, getting new merchandise as well as its own short TV show.
Perhaps one of the weirdest facets of the Gudetama world is not the human-like food but the human who has identified too strongly with the egg.
Nisetama-san is a human wearing a yellow body suit, who dreams of becoming like Gudetama. His name is a combination of fake and the word for egg. According to the Sanrio website, after dreaming too strongly about becoming Gudetama, the dream became a delusion. So now there’s a children’s toy of a delusional man in a yellow skin-tight body suit.
Some of you might be chalking this all up to “crazy Japanese people,” but frankly it’s more than that. Gudetama has become popular worldwide. This sad little egg is a hit, and it’s a trend that is not going anywhere soon.
Truly only a genius could realize that a lazy egg might become such a popular mascot.
It’s hard to say why so many people identify with an egg that is simply unable to handle the world.
It’s even harder to say why its inability to move (beyond a little butt shaking) or emote anything but sadness is so incredibly cute. I say this despite my own obsession with the character, though I can’t deny that when I see that little yellow blob sighing with dissatisfaction about his life, the part of my brain that is triggered by bunnies and puppies begins to light up.
Yet, I’m not alone, people all around the world love Gudetama. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to even walk around campus without seeing a little hint of yellow on somebody’s shirt or pencil case. But who can blame them, really?
My personal obsession has gotten to the point that every time my mom goes back to Japan to visit her parents, she returns with armloads of yellow stickers, plushies and keychains. And I have got to say, I have never once been disappointed with this souvenir.