原味人文风情：This is Gudetama. It's an egg yolk with a little butt crack. Gudetama looks like a character someone gave up on—it has limbs but no fingers or toes; it has a mouth but no teeth. And yet, people can't get enough of it. You can find it on backpacks, cups, airplanes, credit cards, and it even has its own theme cafe. But Gudetama's cute looks aren't the driving force behind its insane popularity. Its main attraction is its lazy personality.
"Can I go home now?"
"You're the star of the show..."
Gudetama comes from a Japanese company called Sanrio. You might have heard of them. They're the creators behind Hello Kitty. In 2013, Sanrio held a company-wide competition to come up with a food-based character. And once people voted, Gudetama didn't end up on top.
蛋黄哥出自一家叫三丽鸥的日本公司。你可能听过他们。他们是 Hello Kitty 背后的创造者。2013 年，三丽鸥举办了一场全公司的竞赛来构思出以食物为主的角色。而人们投了票，蛋黄哥最后并未得到第一名。
Kirimichan, the salmon fillet, came in first. We actually started to release products based on the salmon fillet and its friends. Gudetama, the lazy egg, came in second, but we also released products based on Gudetama, and it really, really took off.
The appeal of Gudetama's melancholy stands in contrast to the American concept of cuteness, which is pretty straightforward. The idea of cute represents goodness and optimism, while pessimism tends to define evil. This is evident in some of Disney's early films.
As you can see, there is a clear divide between good and evil. Villains are usually depicted as unappealing, scary, and old—draped in shadows and dark colors. They're meant to be identified as evil, which means that they can never be cute. But in Japan, there's more of a gray area to this. The word "kawaii" is widely used to describe the quality of being like a child, which means that you can be cute and lazy at the same time.
Yeah, kawaii is a fascinating idea to me. It's a very vulnerable kind of cute. It's forcing, like... It's you're so cute that you make people wanna take care of you.
The term emerged in the 1970s and became a big part of Japanese culture. It was shown through fashion, handwriting, and even behavior. And many Japanese artists and academics believed that this popular culture on cuteness happened for a reason.
这个词在 1970 年代出现，成为日本文化很重要的一部分。可爱被透过时尚、笔迹，甚至是行为表现出来。而许多日本艺术家和学者相信这种可爱流行文化的出现是有原因的。
In Japan, the kawaii culture is often linked to the country's post-World War II years.
"...a message from the Japanese government. I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration."
The idea is that because of its trauma and defeat, the country leaned into its vulnerability. And since then, the concept of kawaii has grown and even formed smaller subgroups.
This is kimo-kawaii, which is sometimes called "gro-kawaii." And there is yuru-kawaii. Yuru means relaxed and calm. According to cartooning expert Aya Kakeda, this particular group became popular because of the stress in modern society. She points out that in the U.S., people are drawn to spas and meditation for relaxation, but in Japan, yuru's calm appearance brings comfort to a lot of people.
这是丑萌，有时也被称作「恶心萌」。还有懒萌。Yuru 的意思是放松和平静。根据卡漫专家悬田阿也表示，这个类别变得受欢迎是因为现代社会的压力。她指出在美国，人们喜欢用 spa 疗程和冥想来放松，但在日本，懒萌角色的平和外表疗愈了许多人。
You can also see a shift in Sanrio's characters throughout the years. They've started giving them a personality to make them more relatable. When Hello Kitty came out in 1974, she was more traditionally cute than Gudetama, but she remained somewhat emotionless. She doesn't even have a mouth to smile or frown with, and that makes her more of a blank canvas—she can be whatever we want her to be. But many people feel a connection with Gudetama because of its gloomy personality. This approach to cuteness extends beyond appearances. It evokes a reaction. These characters can make you laugh or feel relaxed, and you can relate to them by observing their personality.
你也可以看到三丽鸥的角色在这些年来的变化。他们开始赋予角色个性来让它们更亲切。当 Hello Kitty 在 1974 年问世时，她相较于蛋黄哥是种比较传统的可爱，不过她有一点没有感情。她甚至没有嘴巴来微笑或表示不满，那使得 Hello Kitty 比较像张空白画布－－她可以变成我们想要的任何样子。不过很多人因为蛋黄哥忧郁的个性而感到和它有种连结。这种对可爱的诠释超越了外表。那激发出一种反应。这些角色能让你开怀笑或感到放松，而你可以透过观察他们的个性来产生共鸣。
So at a time of confusion and turmoil all around the world, maybe this is just what we need—an egg yolk with a little bum that's just done dealing with life.
"Can't see the future."
"Today might be a better day."