Did you watch the new show “Rilakkuma and Kaoru” on Netflix? It’s so cute! But I bet that many viewers, living outside of Japan, have no clue when it comes to understanding the culture and the history behind the show.
So, KansaiChick is here for help! (*’▽’)/
What is Rilakkuma?
The name “Rilakkuma” was born as the combination of 2 words “Relax” and “Kuma (It means Bear in Japanese)”. Yes, Rilakkuma is a relaxing bear.
When this character appeared in the accessory industry in Japan long time ago, the one-picture-mascot accessory items were the main thing, And They explained a lot about him.
Obviously the concept was “somebody is wearing a bear suit to relax at home“. lol Nobody misses the zipper on his back!
This “somebody” was also clearly an adult guy who was tired. I could tell, because Rilakkuma was laying down and reading newspapers with narrow eyes…! He was just like my dad who does the same thing on Sundays. lol
“Nobody knows the truth” but the idea of the design was there. That was so funny and cute.
How about Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori?
The author added those characters way later. I’ve was thinking that they look like “a real human family”. The yellow bird, who is cleaning all the time, might symbolize “a mother”. The smaller white bear could be “a child”, and Rilakkuma for “a father”.
In the story, they are not related that way. Again, it supposed to be the fact “nobody knows”. However, this idea feels very right. At least, that is the conception that so many Japanese people believe.
Korilakkuma(コリラックマ)’s “ko” means “Small” or “Child” in Japanese, by the way. And Kiiroitori(キイロイトリ) means “a Yellow Bird”.
Why doesn’t Korilakkuma have a zipper on its back?
Did you notice that? lol Korilakkuma doesn’t have a zipper!(*’▽’)
Now, please remember what Rilakkuma is. Somebody, who is tired in real life, needs to wear a cute bear suit to be in the “Relaxing Mode”. lol
But Korilakkuma is a child! Children don’t need anything special to relax. They are naturally stress free! That’s why, Korilakkuma doesn’t need a zipper on its back!
Why Kaoru is the Main Character in the Show?
This is…a little controversial.
Rilakkuma is very popular in Japan and the one of the biggest groups of fan base is “single matured ladies”…. (+_+) They tend to buy a huge Rilakkuma doll, collect its items, attend its events, use its memes, and so on.
And Kaoru is obviously designed in order to empathize that “target”. However, a majority of them are very pissed off about Kaoru. They feel like this show is saying “the lonely single woman like YOU have this kind of sad life and all you have is Rilakkuma, right?”. Σ(･ω･ﾉ)ﾉ
Oh, well, I can enjoy the show for what it is and this idea goes over my head, but…yeah, I also understand why they feel like it’s making fun of them.
The bears are so cute though…!!!
Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Peace”! The life with Rilakkuma is very peaceful.(*´Д｀)v
If you want to know the meanings of any Japanese kanji that you don’t see English subs for in a particular animation or live action movie, tell me “Name of the Show”, “Season and Episode #” and “the Exact Moment (Minute: Second) if it’s available”!
If it’s just Japanese kanji that you see around you, like a shop sign or a tattoo, you can send me the photo as long as you are allowed to take picture of it.
I can’t promise to reply to everyone but I’ll try my best!
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org