Today we will discuss many of the popular characters, which are easily recognized in Japanese (now spilled happily into western society) pop culture. Not in any particular order.
- Totoro - a magical forest creature from a 1988 film called 'My Neighbour Totoro'. A gentle giant who easily befriends children.
- Cinnamaroll - created by Sanrio, this white puppy (with big bunny-like ears) is drawn in soft pastel colors and has a most innocent face. His ears also allow him to fly.
- Hello Kitty - probably the most widely known of Sanrio's line of kawaii cartoon characters. Hello Kitty debuted on school supplies in Japan in the mid 1970s.
- Rilakkuma - this popular teddy bear debuted in Japan, first seen in a series of kid's books by company called San-X. Now you see his cute, simple face on nearly everything kawaii.
- Sugar Bunnies - also by Sanrio, they are actually both boys (even the pretty white one) and the bake together in a bakery, hence their name. One is Shirousa and the other is Kurousa.
- Little Twin Stars - though we don't hear as much about these cute siblings today, they were HUGE in the 1980s. Like, Garfield suction-cup huge, in popularity.
- Pusheen - widely popularized in the 'kawaii community', Pusheen is actually American-made but has many similar features to her counterparts above.
- My Melody - She is a bunny and a good friend of Hello Kitty (also a popular Sanrio cutie).
- Mo Lang Bunny - This bunny is actually Korean but he's so cute, he's definitely a huge part of modern Kawaii Culture! Though grumpy, his features are so cute it's hard to tell!
- Hamtaro - He started out as a book series but it wasn't long before he got his own TV series.
- Homekoro - an adorable Pomeranian puppy created by San-X. His name means 'praise'. He is always giving his friends compliments to lift their spirits ^_^
- Nyan Nyan Nyanko - a series of 3 kittens (also by San-X) who often pose in food and other inanimate objects. Their names literally mean "meow, meow, kitten".
So there you have it. 12 Popular 'kawaii' culture icons (there are many more too!). Which one is your favorite? Answer in the comments!