All About Japan

Cracking Open Gudetama's Shell


Sanrio is best known as the company that’s been producing Hello Kitty merchandise since 1974 (along with merch for newer characters like Aggretsuko the office-worker red panda). One of Sanro’s most popular characters these days is Gudetama, a melancholy egg yolk.

In a recent video, Dion Lee and Alex Abad-Santos of Vox explain what Gudetama is, how it was developed, and possible reasons the eggy icon has become such a phenomenal hit.

In recent years, Sanrio’s characters have evolved from the mouthless “blank canvas” characters onto whom you could project your own feelings, like Hello Kitty, to characters with personalities we can relate to like Aggretsuko or Gudetama. In our stressful, modern existence the guys at Vox posit that maybe all we need is an “egg yolk with a little bum who’s given up on life.”

While its form may be sunny-side-up, Gudetama’s disposition is rather less so, but maybe Gudetama appeals because we’ve all had days when we wanted to take cover under a protective shell.

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