Mt . Maculot

August 16, 2009

Cuenca, Batangas

 

 

 / 13.916667; 121.04472

Municipality of Cuenca
Location
Map of Batangas showing the location of Cuenca.
Map of Batangas showing the location of Cuenca.
Government
Region CALABARZON (Region IV-A)
Province Batangas
District 3rd District
Barangays 21
Income class 4th class
Mayor Celerino Endaya
ZIP Code 4222
Physical characteristics
Area 58.18 km²
Population

     Total


28,581

Population Census of Cuenca
Census Pop. Rate
1995 22,758
2000 25,642 2.59%
2007 28,581 1.51%

Cuenca is a 4th class municipality in the province of Batangas, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 28,581 people in 5,222 households.

Once a part of San Jose it became an independent town under the name of "Cuenca" in 1876.Its famous tourist attraction Mt. Maculot (600 m or 1968 ft.).

The Patron of Cuenca is Saint Isidore the Laborer, the patron of farmers celebrates his feast day during 15th of May.

History

Cuenca was founded back in 1875 by the decree of the Superior Gobierno issued on August 11, 1875. Another ducument states the barrios of Maculot, Dita, Ibabao, Labac, Bungahan and Dalipit be constituted into a one civil and independent town due to its distance to the town of San Jose, Batangas

In 1896, Cuenca had a population of 5,660,which increased to 6,938 in 1898. The town also played a role during World War II, Mt. Maculot became the strong hold of the Japanese forces in Batangas they also built tunnels in some parts of Barangay Dita. During the Liberation, Cuenca was badly bombed which cause the deforestation of the slopes of the mountain. Rehabilitation was needed in order for the town to rise up from the ruins of the war, American forces help the town by rebuilding schools,bridges a marker in Cuenca Central Elem. School shows the effort they did Cuenca Institute was founded in 1947 in order to give secondary education and it is the oldest secondary institution in Cuenca, back then students who graduated elementary used to go to Batangas City or Manila and parents who could not afford to send their children to those places failed to give them a high school education. Cuenca became popular not only because of the mountain but to its number of bakers in Manila over 90% of all bakers come and started here making Cuenca as "The Home Of The Bakers",annually festivals are made in honor of San Isidro Labrador. Today Cuenca is building up a better future for all.

Mayor Celerino Endaya and Vice-Mayor Luchie Cuevas are the current officials of Cuenca, Batangas.

Barangays

The Famous Cuenca's Tourist Attraction; Mt. Maculot

Cuenca is politically subdivided into 21 barangays.

  • Balagbag
  • Bungahan
  • Calumayin
  • Dalipit East
  • Dalipit West
  • Dita
  • Don Juan
  • Emmanuel
  • Ibabao
  • Labac
  • Pinagkaisahan
  • San Felipe
  • San Isidro
  • Barangay 1 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 2 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 3 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 4 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 5 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 6 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 7 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 8 (Pob.)

External links



 

Philippine Tarsier

August 16, 2009

Philippine Tarsier

 

 
Philippine Tarsier[1]

Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Tarsiidae
Genus: Tarsius
Species: T. syrichta
Binomial name
Tarsius syrichta
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Geographic distribution of Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), known locally as the Maumag in Cebuano/Visayan, is an endangered tarsier species endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.[3] Its name is derived from its elongated "tarsus" or ankle bone.[4]

Its geographic range also includes Maripipi Island, Siargao Island, Basilan Island and Dinagat Island.[2] Tarsiers have also been reported in Sarangani, although they may be different subspecies. Being a member of a family that is about 45 million years old,[5] it was only introduced to western biologists in the 18th century.[6]

Contents

Anatomy and morphology

The Philippine Tarsier is a tiny animal, measuring about 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) in height. The small size makes it difficult to spot. The average mass for males is around 134 grams, and for females, around 117 grams. The average adult is about the size of a human fist and will fit very comfortably in the human hand.

Like all tarsiers, the Philippine Tarsier's eyes are fixed in its skull; they cannot turn in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows its round head to be rotated 180 degrees. The large membranous ears are mobile,[7] appearing to be almost constantly moving, allowing the tarsier to hear any movement. It has uniquely large eyes (disproportionate to its head and body), which are listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest eyes on any mammal. These huge eyes provide this nocturnal animal with excellent night vision.[8]

The Philippine Tarsier has thick and silky fur which is colored gray to dark brown. The thin tail, usually used for balance, is naked or bald except for a tuft of hair at the end, and is about twice the body length. Its elongated "tarsus," or ankle bone, which gives the tarsier its name, allows it to jump at least three meters from tree to tree without having to touch the ground.[8] Its long digits are tipped with rounded pads that allow T. syrichta to cling easily to trees and to grip almost any surface. The thumb is not truly opposable, but the first toe is. All of the digits have flattened nails, except for the second and third toes, which have sharp claws specialized for grooming.[9]

The dental formula is 2:1:3:3 in the upper jaw and 1:1:3:3 in the lower jaw, with relatively small upper canines.[7]

Angry Philippine Tarsier, showing lower jaw dentition


Range and distribution

The Philippine Tarsier, as its name suggests, is endemic to the Philippine archipelago.[10] Tarsius syrichta populations are generally found in the southeastern part of the archipelago. Established populations are present particularly on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.[3] They have also been found on various isolated islands within its known range, such as Maripipi Island, Siargao Island, Basilan Island and Dinagat Island.[2]

Ecology and life history

Tarsier tree climbing

Habitat

The Philippine Tarsier's habitat is the second growth, secondary forest, and primary forest from sea level to 700 m.[10] Its habitat also includes tropical rainforest with dense vegetation and trees that offer it protection like tall grasses, bushes and bamboo shoots.

Research findings also show that the Philippine Tarsier prefer dense, low-level vegetation in secondary forests, with perching sites averaging 2 meters above the ground.[11]

Home range

Initial studies show that the Philippine Tarsier appears to have a home range of 1 to 2 hectares.[3] Recent research shows that home ranges averaged 6.45 hectares for males and 2.45 hectares for females (MCP and Kernel 95%), allowing for a density of 16 male and 41 female tarsiers per 100 ha.[12]

Research findings also show that while both male and female tarsiers are solitary animals, they cross each other's paths under the cover of nightfall as they hunt for prey. They travel up to one and a half kilometres across the forest and the optimal area is more than six hectares.[5]

Ecosystem roles

Besides human hunters, feral cats banished from nearby communities are the species' main predators, though some large birds are known to prey on it as well.[13] Because of its nocturnal and arboreal habits, the Philippine Tarsier is most likely to fall prey to owls, or to small carnivores which it can encounter in its canopy homes.

Feeding ecology

The Philippine Tarsier is carnivorous. Primarily insectivorous, its diet consists of live insects and it has also been observed to feed on spiders, small crustaceans, and small vertebrates such as small lizards and birds. Tarsius syrichta preys on live insects, particularly crickets and grasshoppers. Upon seizing its prey, the tarsier carries it to its mouth using both hands.[3]

As predators, the Philippine Tarsier may help to structure insect communities. To the extent that it is preyed upon by other animals, it may impact predator populations.

Behavior

The Philippine Tarsier is a shy nocturnal[3] animal that leads a mostly hidden life, asleep during the day and only active to look for food during the night. During the day, it sleeps in dark hollows close to the ground, near the trunks of trees and shrubs deep in the impenetrable bushes and forests. They only become active at night, and even then, with their much better sight and amazing ability to maneuver around trees, are very well able to avoid humans.[6]

It is arboreal[3] and is a vertical clinger and leaper,[7] habitually clinging vertically to trees and are capable of leaping from branch to branch.

The Philippine Tarsier is solitary. However, it is found to have either monogamous or polygamous mating system.[7]

 Communication

The Philippine Tarsier uses varied means of communication. Although less vocal than many primate species, it uses calls which are often associated with territorial maintenance and male-female spacing.[3] Its "loud call" is a loud piercing single note. When content, it emits a sound similar to a soft sweet bird-like twill. And when several tarsiers come together, they have a chirping, locust-like sound.[14]

Its vocal communication is the distress call made by infants when they are separated from their mothers. It is also the call made by males to their mates during mating season. Its olfactory communication is the marking of a scent from the circumoral gland which the female uses to mark her mate with the gland located around the mouth. It is also the marking of a male's territory with the use of urine. Its tactile communication is the social grooming done when one tarsier grooms the other, removing dead skin and parasites, observed in females on adult males, as well as in females on their offspring.[7]

Life history

Tarsier with a baby

Reproduction

The Philippine Tarsier's pregnancy or gestation period lasts about 6 months. The female's estrous cycle lasts 25–28 days.[7] Mating season begins in April to May. The males deposit a mating plug in the female's vagina after intercourse. The female gives birth to one offspring per gestation. The infant is born with a lot of hair and born with its eyes open. The females carry their infants in their mouth. A new born can already cling to branches and in less than a month after birth, it can start leaping.

The Philippine Tarsier reproduces poorly in captivity.[15]

Etymology and taxonomic history

The Philippine Tarsier has been called "the world's smallest monkey" or "smallest primate" by locals before. However, the Philippine Tarsier is neither a monkey nor the smallest primate. It is related to other primates, including monkeys, lemurs, gorillas and humans but it occupies a small evolutionary branch between the strepsirrhine prosimians, and the haplorrhine simians. While it is a prosimian, and used to be grouped with the rest of the prosimians, it has some phylogenetic features that caused scientists to classify it as a haplorrhine and, therefore, more closely related to apes and monkeys than to the other prosimians.

The smallest primate is the Pygmy Mouse Lemur while the smallest monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset. Nevertheless, the Philippine Tarsier is still one of the smallest primates, and is considered to be the mammal with the biggest eyes.[citation needed]

The Philippine Tarsier was only introduced to Western biologists in the 18th century through the description given to J. Petiver by the missionary J.G. Camel of an animal said to have come from the Philippines. Petiver published Camel's description in 1705 and named the animal Cercopithecus luzonis minimus which was the basis for Linnaeus' (1758) Simia syrichta and eventually Tarsius syrichta, the scientific name it is known at present.[16] Among the locals, the tarsier is known as "mamag", "mago", "magau", "maomag", "malmag" and "magatilok-iok".[17]

According to records of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, three subspecies are presently recognized: Tarsius syrichta syrichta from Leyte and Samar, Tarsius syrichta fraterculus from Bohol and Tarsius syrichta carbonarius from Mindanao.[18] The IUCN taxonomic notes lists two subspecies but that the non-nominate one is poorly defined as present, so the species is treated as a whole. Tarsius syrichta carbonarius and Tarsius s. fraterculus: Hill (1955) recognized these taxa as weakly defined subspecies. Niemitz (1984) found the differences to be insignificant based upon comparisons with museum specimens. Musser and Dagosto (1987) felt that the available museum specimens were insufficient to resolve the issue, but mentioned that Heaney felt that a single male tarsier from Dinagat might be distinct. Groves (2001) did not recognize any subspecies of T. syrichta.[19]

 Importance to humans

There is no known negative impact of the Philippine Tarsier on humans, just as long as it is in its native environment. However, when kept as pets, there is a possibility that the species may spread worms and other parasites to their human owners.

Tarsiers used to be kept as pets or sold for trade, although their survival in captivity is erratic due to their need for live insects upon which to feed. Scientists are interested in these animals because of their unique taxonomic position, and study of tarsiers may aid human economies.

 Conservation

In 1986, the Philippines Tarsier was assessed as Endangered by the IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986. It was still assessed as Endangered by the IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre in 1988, as well as in 1990 (IUCN 1990). In 1996, it was assessed as Lower Risk/conservation dependent by Baillie and Groombridge (1996).[20]

On September 13, 1991, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), per DENR Administrative Order Number 48 or DAO 48, listed the Philippine Tarsier as an endangered species: species and subspecies of wildlife whose populations are in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating.[21]

The Philippine Tarsier is listed in Appendix II of CITES,[22] and the U.S. ESA classifies it as threatened.[23]

In 2000, the IUCN, having continuously listed the Philippine Tarsier as endangered,[1] further assessed the Tarsius syrichta in its red list category and criteria as Data Deficient (DD)[2] which means that there is inadequate information to make a direct or indirect assessment of its risks of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. Further, it basically means that it is not known how close the species is to extinction or if it is a lower risk.

Being classified as such, the sale and trade of the species is prohibited. In addition, research on the species, particularly those using invasive techniques, is controlled by the DENR Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) and requires Environmental Compliance Certificate/Environmental Impact Statement or ECC/EIS.

Threats to the species

For the past 45 million years, tarsiers have inhabited rainforests around the world, but now they only exist on a few islands in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia.[5] In Bohol, the Philippine Tarsier was a common sight in the southern part of the island until the 1960s. Since then, the number has dwindled to as few as an estimated 1000 still left in the wild.[citation needed] Once protected by the humid rainforests and mist-shrouded hills, these mysterious primates struggle to survive as their home is cleared for crop growing.

Due to the quickly growing human population, which causes more and more forests to be converted to farmland, housing areas and roads, the place where the Philippine Tarsier can live its secluded life is disappearing.[6]

Along this line, the dwindling of Philippine forests has posed a grave and significant threat to the survival of the Philippine Tarsier because this results in the destruction of its natural forest habitat. Indiscriminate and illegal logging, cutting of trees for firewood, "kaingin" or slash and burn method of agriculture, urbanization patterns have encroached on the habitats of the tarsier, causing the tarsier to be threatened or endangered.[24]

The unabated hunting of the species by humans for house pets or for trade has contributed to its decline as well. Hunting tarsiers to sell as pets was a thriving industry until recently. Because of its adorable and benign appearance, many have been lured to keep the Philippine Tarsier as pets. This demand fuels the capture and illegal trade of the animal further diminishing its remaining number.[citation needed] Moreover, the life span for wild tarsiers is 24 years, but often as little as 12 years in captivity. Aside from the issues of replicating a natural diet, climate, and exercise that may reduce a captive tarsier's lifespan, stress may be added by the fact that many human owners want to interact with and display their pets by day, interrupting their nocturnal lifestyle.[citation needed]

Paradoxically, indigenous superstition coupled with relatively thick rainforest, particularly in Sarangani province, have apparently preserved this endangered species. Indigenous tribes leave the Philippine Tarsiers in the wild because they fear that these animals could bring bad luck. One belief passed down from ancient times is that they are pets belonging to spirits dwelling in giant fig trees, known as belete trees. If someone harms a tarsier they need to apologize to the spirits of the forest, or it’s thought they will encounter sickness or hardship in life.[5]

Conservation efforts

[edit] Legislation

Signage at entry to Philippine Tarsier Foundation Research and Development Center

Several legislations have been passed to protect and conserve the Philippine Tarsier. DENR Administrative Order No. 38, Series of 1991 (DAO No. 38) included the Philippine Tarsier among the national protected wildlife species and proposed its listing under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). More over, the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group had given the species Conservation Priority Rating 4, which means that the species is highly vulnerable and threatened by habitat destruction and/or hunting.

Proclamation 1030 was signed by then President of the Philippines Fidel V. Ramos on June 23, 1997, declaring the Philippine Tarsier a specially protected faunal species. [1] The Proclamation contains that since the Philippine Tarsier, endemic to the Philippines, offers immense ecological, aesthetic, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value to the country and to the Filipino people, it is a matter of national concern since it forms part of the Philippine heritage. The Proclamation thus prohibits the hunting, killing, wounding, taking away, or possession of the Philippine Tarsier, but that possession for educational, scientific, conservation-centered research purposes may be allowed upon certification of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary. Further, the DENR is also tasked to collaborate with other concerned government agencies, NGOs, local government units and local communities in the conduct of accelerated and expanded field researches and to avail of financial support and technical cooperation from local and international entities, as may be deemed necessary to implement the provisions of the Proclamation.[25]

Republic Act No. 7586, otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1991 mandates the establishment of appropriate sanctuaries to preserve and protect the Philippine Tarsier.

There are also legislations at the other local level, including Provincial ordinances and proclamations (Bohol Province), Municipal Ordinances (Corella), Barangay Ordinances (Canapnapan, etc.).

On July 30, 2001, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act that provided for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, including the Philippine Tarsier, and its inclusion as a flagship species.[26]

Conservation initiatives

Conserving biological diversity involves tools like the protection of natural or semi-natural ecosystems, the restoration and rehabilitation of degraded lands, and ex-situ conservation techniques.[27] In-situ conservation is the maintenance of plant and animal genetic material in their natural habitat. The aim of in-situ conservation is to allow the population to maintain itself within the community of which it forms part and in the environment to which it is adapted so that it has the potential for continued evolution.[27] Protected areas are among the most valuable in situ conservation tool and cost-effective means for preserving genes, species, and habitats and for maintaining various ecological processes of importance to humanity. They are set aside to conserve species that cannot be preserved ex-situ and wild crop relatives. The protected areas system maintain species diversity by protecting the range of different community types and by allowing for changes in species' distributions. They do this by protecting the diversity of physical environments containing a range of situations to allow organisms to adjust their local distribution in response to climate change and linking corridors of natural and modified environments, which will allow species to change their continental distributions.[27]

Reforestation attempts to restore deforested areas using indigenous tree species are more consistent with biodiversity conservation strategies such as protected area management and natural regeneration. This allows for enhanced forest ecological services such as watershed functions, wildlife habitat, and maintenance. As a result, local biodiversity is protected and rehabilitated. In trial sites in Leyte, local fauna has been seen to quickly re-colonize the mixed plantations of rainforestation cooperators/farmers. Birds and fruit bats initially, and then larger mammals including Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) and Flying Lemur (Cynocephahis volans) were seen in the sites after four years (Goltenhoth et al. 2000).[28]

Philippine debt-for-nature swap program

To save the Philippine Tarsier from extinction, the Philippine government has launched various initiatives. Efforts to conserve the species started in 1988 when a study on the tarsier habitat requirements was initiated in Corella, Bohol by the Parks and Wildlife Bureau or PAWB under the financial grant of the Wildlife Conservation International. This was followed by a Philippine Tarsier Project by Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 7 in 1991-1992 under the Debt-for-Nature Swap Project.[29]

The debt-for-nature swap, first proposed by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in 1984, is a scheme in which conservation organizations acquired title to debt, either by direct donation from a bank, or by raising the cash to buy it, and then negotiate with the debtor countries to obtain debt repayment in local currency at a favorable conversion rate, or to secure conservation measures/activities.[29]

Haribon Foundation was identified as the local NGO partner in its venture. As the local NGO partner, Haribon Foundation became the fund manager of the program, thus, all financial transactions with the Central Bank of the Philippines and the World WWF were handled while release of funds to all the projects was facilitated. One of the projects implemented on the first year was the "Endangered Species Conservation: Philippine Tarsier" supervised by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR.[30]

Philippine Tarsier Foundation Incorporated

PTFI Tarsier Research and Development Center, Corella, Bohol

The Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc. based in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines, is spearheading the campaign to preserve the Philippine Tarsier. Under a Memorandum of Agreement with the DENR signed on April 27, 1997, its mission is: to establish a forest reserve on the island of Bohol which shall serve as the sanctuary of the Philippine Tarsier; to protect and manage the tarsier sanctuary through the active participation of local communities; to establish and maintain a wildlife research laboratory for the study of the ecology and biology of the Philippine Tarsier; to establish and maintain visitor facilities for ecotourism and disseminate information material about the Philippine Tarsier with emphasis on the species' protection and conservation."[31]

To date, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation has acquired 7.4 hectares of land in Corella, Bohol for the sanctuary. With the DENR playing an oversight role, the foundation has asked other Bohol towns with Philippines Tarsier populations to donate 20 hectares (49 acres) of forestland for conservation.

It also runs a Tarsier Research and Development Center, which serves as a visitor center and venue for research, as well as a habitat preserve.[32] At the sanctuary, a spacious net enclosure keeps 100 Philippine Tarsiers for feeding, captive breeding and display. Here, visitors can observe the Philippine Tarsier in their natural habitat. Within the sanctuary, the Philippine Tarsiers roam freely and all of them have gotten used to a seven-foot high fence that circumscribes the territory and which serves mainly to protect them from predators like feral cats. At night, tarsiers can be seen climbing out of the fence to forage for food farther into the forest. They return again before daybreak, as if observing a curfew.[25]

Tarsier Sanctuary captive display

Captive tarsier display in Loboc, Bohol

Because the Philippine Tarsier sanctuary in Corella, Bohol is off the tourist path,[33] private individuals in Loboc, Bohol have provided an alternative way for tourists to see them through their displays of the Philippine Tarsier along the Loboc river banks. This captive tarsier display is conveniently on the way to other tourist spots in Bohol, particularly the Chocolate Hills in Carmen town.[34] Despite the protection status of the Philippine Tarsier, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has granted special limited permits for this display of the Philippine Tarsier in Loboc. Here, tourists can see the Philippine Tarsier up close and personal and take pictures, but are not allowed to touch them. Unfortunately, the Philippine Tarsier here are semi-captive, being kept in cages along the Loboc river. Here, the animals are not in a sanctuary and as such, these shy animals have miserable lives and normally don't survive for long.[35] Though they are allowed to leave their cages at night to hunt for food, this is contrary to the ban on possession of Philippine Tarsier by virtue of its protected status. Proclamation 1030 states that "the possession of the Philippine Tarsier is only allowed for educational, scientific, conservation-centered research purposes upon certification of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary." Further, the possession of these tarsiers for display encourages their possession as pets.[34]

Possession and display of tarsiers banned in Loboc

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol passed Ordinance 015-2008 prohibiting the possession and display of tarsiers in the towns Loay and Loboc, Bohol.

There were reports of a bleeding tarsier in one of the caged tourist viewing sites in Loboc. The wounded tarsier, found to have an infection that led to the bleeding.[36]

Although it is rare to hear reports of injured tarsiers, provincial lawmakers are already pushing for an immediate regulation in issuing permits to private individuals and entities displaying tarsiers away from their natural habitat.

A report in GMA News’ “24 Oras” on February 18, 2009 said the approval of the measure was triggered by the proliferation of farms and businesses that are displaying tarsiers for a fee.[37]

Violators of the ordinance would be slapped with a P5,000 fine and will be meted with a jail term of not less than six months, the report said.

The report said tarsiers suffer stress every time they are exposed to humans. It added that the provincial government wanted tarsiers to remain in their natural habitat.

The provincial government also passed a resolution urging the Environment Department to stop issuing wildlife permits that allow the use of tarsiers for commercial purposes.[38]


[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. (2005). Wilson, D. E., & Reeder, D. M.. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 128. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3. 
  2. ^ a b c d Arboleda, I. (2008). Tarsius syrichta. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2008. Retrieved on 1 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kubicek, C. (1999). "Tarsius syrichta". Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tarsius_syrichta.html. Retrieved 2006-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Philippine tarsier". America Zoo. http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/mammals/93.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-15. .
  5. ^ a b c d "Tarsier - the littlest alien". Off The Fence. http://www.offthefence.com/content/programme.php?ID=270&Categories=3. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  6. ^ a b c Hellingman, Jeroen (2004-04-24). "A Visit to the Philippine Tarsier". Bohol, Philippines. http://www.bohol.ph/article44.html. Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Flannery, Sean (2003-10-15). "Philippine Tarsier". The Primata. http://members.tripod.com/uakari/tarsius_syrichta.html. Retrieved 2006-11-14.
 

Pokémon

August 16, 2009

Pokémon

 

The official logo of Pokémon, the English variant of the original Japanese Poketto Monsutā

Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon?, English pronunciation: /ˈpoʊkeɪmɒn/[1]; often simplified as "Pokemon"[2]) is a media franchise published by the video game company Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri around 1995. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games, Pokémon has since become the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario series.[3] Pokémon properties have since been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other media. The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary on February 27, 1996, and as of 23 April 2008 (2008 -04-23), cumulative sales of the video games (including home console versions, such as the "Pikachu" Nintendo 64) have reached more than 186 million copies.[4]

The name Pokémon is the romanized contraction of the Japanese brand Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā?),[5] as such contractions are very common in Japan. The term "Pokémon", in addition to referring to the Pokémon franchise itself, also collectively refers to the 493 fictional species that have made appearances in Pokémon media as of the recent release of the newest Pokémon role-playing game (RPG) for the Nintendo DS, Pokémon Platinum. Like the words deer and sheep, the word "Pokémon" is identical in both the singular and plural, as is each individual species name; in short, it is grammatically correct to say both "one Pokémon" and "many Pokémon". In November 2005, 4Kids Entertainment, which had managed the non-game related licensing of Pokémon, announced that it had agreed not to renew the Pokémon representation agreement. Pokémon USA Inc. (now The Pokémon Company International), a subsidiary of Japan's Pokémon Co., now oversees all Pokémon licensing outside of Asia.[6]

Contents

Concept

The concept of the Pokémon universe, in both the video games and the general fictional world of Pokémon, stems from the hobby of insect collecting, a popular pastime which Pokémon executive director Satoshi Tajiri-Oniwa enjoyed as a child.[7] Players of the games are designated as Pokémon Trainers, and the two general goals (in most Pokémon games) for such Trainers are: to complete the Pokédex by collecting all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional region where that game takes place; and to train a team of powerful Pokémon from those they have caught to compete against teams owned by other Trainers, and eventually become the strongest Trainer, the Pokémon Master. These themes of collecting, training, and battling are present in almost every version of the Pokémon franchise, including the video games, the anime and manga series, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

In most incarnations of the fictional Pokémon universe, a Trainer that encounters a wild Pokémon is able to capture that Pokémon by throwing a specially designed, mass-producible tool called a Poké Ball at it. If the Pokémon is unable to escape the confines of the Poké Ball, that Pokémon is officially considered under the ownership of that Trainer. Afterward, it will obey whatever commands its new master issues to it from that point onward, unless the Trainer demonstrates enough of a lack of experience that the Pokémon would rather act on its own accord. Trainers can send out any of their Pokémon to wage non-lethal battles against other Pokémon; if the opposing Pokémon is wild, the Trainer can capture that Pokémon with a Poké Ball, increasing his or her collection of creatures. Pokémon already owned by other Trainers cannot be captured, except under special circumstances in certain games. If a Pokémon fully defeats an opponent in battle so that the opponent is knocked out (i.e., "faints"), the winning Pokémon gains experience and may level up. When leveling up, the Pokémon's statistics ("stats") of battling aptitude increase, such as Attack and Speed. From time to time the Pokémon may also learn new moves, which are techniques used in battle. In addition, many species of Pokémon possess the ability to undergo a form of metamorphosis and transform into a similar but stronger species of Pokémon, a process called evolution.

In the main series, each game's single-player mode requires the Trainer to raise a team of Pokémon to defeat many non-player character (NPC) Trainers and their Pokémon. Each game lays out a somewhat linear path through a specific region of the Pokémon world for the Trainer to journey through, completing events and battling opponents along the way. Each game features eight especially powerful Trainers, referred to as Gym Leaders, that the Trainer must defeat in order to progress. As a reward, the Trainer receives a Gym Badge, and once all eight badges are collected, that Trainer is eligible to challenge the region's Pokémon League, where four immensely talented trainers (referred to collectively as the "Elite Four") challenge the Trainer to four Pokémon battles in succession. If the trainer can overcome this gauntlet, he or she must then challenge the Regional Champion, the master Trainer who had previously defeated the Elite Four. Any Trainer who wins this last battle becomes the new champion and gains the title of Pokémon Master.

Video games

Generations

The original Pokémon games were Japanese RPGs with an element of strategy, and were created by Satoshi Tajiri for the Game Boy. These role-playing games, and their sequels, remakes, and English language translations, are still considered the "main" Pokémon games, and the games which most fans of the series are referring to when they use the term "Pokémon games". All of the licensed Pokémon properties overseen by The Pokémon Company are divided roughly by generation. These generations are roughly chronological divisions by release; every several years, when an official sequel in the main RPG series is released that features new Pokémon, characters, and gameplay concepts, that sequel is considered the start of a new generation of the franchise. The main games and their spin-offs, the anime, manga, and trading card game are all updated with the new Pokémon properties each time a new generation begins. The franchise is in its fourth generation.

A level 5 Bulbasaur engaged in a battle with a level 5 Charmander in Pokémon Red and Blue.[8]

The Pokémon franchise started off in its first generation with its initial release of Pocket Monsters Aka and Midori ("Red" and "Green", respectively) for the Game Boy in Japan. When these games proved extremely popular, an enhanced Ao ("Blue") version was released sometime after, and the Ao version was reprogrammed as Pokémon Red and Blue for international release. The games launched in the United States on September 30, 1998. The original Aka and Midori versions were never released outside of Japan.[9] Afterwards, a further enhanced version titled Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition was released to partially take advantage of the color palette of the Game Boy Color, as well as to feature more elements from the popular Pokémon anime. This first generation of games introduced the original 151 species of Pokémon (in National Pokédex order, encompassing all Pokémon from Bulbasaur to Mew), as well as the basic game concepts of capturing, training, battling, and trading Pokémon with both computer and human players. These versions of the games take place within the fictional Kanto region, though the name "Kanto" was not used until the second generation.

The second generation of Pokémon began in 2000 with the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver for Game Boy Color. Like the previous generation, an enhanced version titled Pokémon Crystal was later released. The second generation introduced 100 new species of Pokémon (starting with Chikorita and ending with Celebi), with a total of 251 Pokémon to collect, train, and battle. The Pokémon mini is a handheld game console released in November 2001 in North America, December 2001 in Japan, and 2002 in Europe. Pokémon entered its third generation with the 2003 release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire for Game Boy Advance and continued with the Game Boy Advance remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, and an enhanced version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire titled Pokémon Emerald.

The third generation introduced 135 new Pokémon (starting with Treecko and ending with Deoxys) for a total of 386 species. However, this generation also garnered some criticism for leaving out several gameplay features, including the day-and-night system introduced in the previous generation, and it was also the first installment that encouraged the player to collect merely a selected assortment of the total number of Pokémon rather than every existing species (202 out of 386 species are catchable in the Ruby and Sapphire versions).

In 2006, Japan began the fourth generation of the franchise with the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl for Nintendo DS. The fourth generation introduces another 107 new species of Pokémon (starting with Turtwig and ending with Arceus), bringing the total of Pokémon species to 493.[10] The Nintendo DS "touch screen" allows new features to the game such as cooking poffins with the stylus and using the "Pokétch". New gameplay concepts include a restructured move-classification system, online multiplayer trading and battling via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, the return (and expansion) of the second generation's day-and-night system, the expansion of the third generation's Pokémon Contests into "Super Contests", and the new region of Sinnoh, which has an underground component for multiplayer gameplay in addition to the main overworld. Pokémon Platinum, the enhanced version of Diamond and Pearl, much like Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, and Emerald, was released September 2008 in Japan, March 2009 in North America, and is scheduled to be released in Australia and Europe in May 2009. Spin-off titles in the fourth generation include the Pokémon Stadium follow-up Pokémon Battle Revolution for Wii, which has Wi-Fi connectivity as well.[11] Nintendo announced in May 2009 that enhanced remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, entitled Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, will be released for the Nintendo DS. HeartGold and SoulSilver will be set in the Johto region and will be released in Fall 2009 in Japan.[12]

Game mechanics

Starter Pokémon

One of the consistent aspects of the Pokémon games — spanning from Pokémon Red and Blue on the Nintendo Game Boy to the Nintendo DS game, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl — is the choice of one of three different Pokémon at the start of the player's adventures; these three are often labeled "starter Pokémon". Players can choose a Grass-type, a Fire-type, or a Water-type.[13] For example, in Pokémon Red and Blue (and their respective reworks, Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen), the player has the choice of starting with Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. The exception to this rule is Pokémon Yellow (a remake of the original games that follows the story of the Pokémon anime), where players are given a Pikachu, an Electric-type mouse Pokémon, famous for being the mascot of the Pokémon media franchise; in this game, however, the three starter Pokémon from Red and Blue can be obtained during the quest by a single player, something that is not possible in any other installment of the franchise.[14] Another consistent aspect is that the player's rival will always choose as his or her starter Pokémon the one that has a type advantage over the player's Pokémon. For instance, if the player picks a Grass-type Pokémon, the rival will always pick the fire-type starter. Of course, the exception to this is again Pokémon Yellow, in which the rival picks an Eevee, but whether this Eevee evolves into Jolteon, Vaporeon, or Flareon is decided by when the player wins and loses to the rival through the journey.

Pokédex

The Pokédex is a fictional electronic device featured in the Pokémon video game and anime series. In the games, whenever a Pokémon is first captured, its data will be added to a player's Pokédex, but in the anime or manga, the Pokédex is a comprehensive electronic reference encyclopedia, usually referred to in order to deliver exposition. "Pokédex" is also used to refer to a list of Pokémon, usually a list of Pokémon by number. In the video games, a Pokémon Trainer is issued a blank device at the start of the journey. A trainer must then attempt to fill the Pokédex by encountering and at least briefly obtaining each of the different species of Pokémon. A player will receive the name and image of a Pokémon after encountering one that was not previously in the Pokédex, typically after battling said Pokémon either in the wild or in a trainer battle (with the exceptions of link battles and tournament battles, such as in the Battle Frontier). In Pokémon Red and Blue, some Pokémon's data is added to the Pokédex simply by viewing the Pokémon, such as in the zoo outside of the Safari Zone. Also, certain NPC characters may add to the Pokédex by explaining what a Pokémon looks like during conversation. More detailed information is available after the player obtains a member of the species, either through capturing the Pokémon in the wild, evolving a previously captured Pokémon, hatching a Pokémon egg (from the second generation onwards), or through a trade with another trainer (either an NPC or another player). This information includes height, weight, species type, and a short description of the Pokémon. Later versions of the Pokédex have more detailed information, like the size of a certain Pokémon compared to the player character, or Pokémon being sorted by their habitat (so far, the latter feature is only in the FireRed and LeafGreen versions). The most current forms of Pokédex are capable of containing information on all Pokémon currently known. The GameCube games, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, have a Pokémon Digital Assistant (PDA) which is similar to the Pokédex, but also tells what types are effective against a Pokémon and gives a description of its abilities.[15]

In other media

Anime series

Ash Ketchum and Pikachu together in the pilot episode, "Pokémon, I Choose You!"

The Pokémon anime series and films are a meta-series of adventures separate from the canon that most of the Pokémon video games follow (with the exception of Pokémon Yellow, a game based loosely on the anime storyline). The anime follows the quest of the main character, Ash Ketchum[16] (known as Satoshi in Japan) a Pokémon Master in training, as he and a small group of friends[16] travel around the fictitious world of Pokémon along with their Pokémon partners. The original series, titled Pocket Monsters, or simply Pokémon in western countries (often referred to as Pokémon: Gotta Catch 'Em All to distinguish it from the later series), begins with Ash's first day as a Pokémon trainer. His first (and signature) Pokémon is a Pikachu, differing from the games, where only Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle could be chosen.[17] The series follows the storyline of the original games, Pokémon Red and Blue, in the region of Kanto. Accompanying Ash on his journeys are Brock, the Pewter City Gym Leader, and Misty, the youngest of the Gym Leader sisters from Cerulean City. Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands follows Ash's adventures in the Orange Islands, a place unique to the anime, and replaces Brock with Tracey Sketchit, an artist and "Pokémon watcher". The next series, based on the second generation of games, include Pokémon: Johto Journeys, Pokémon: Johto League Champions, and Pokémon: Master Quest, following the original trio of Ash, Brock, and Misty in the western Johto region. The saga continues in Pokémon: Advanced Battle, based on the third generation games. Ash and company travel to Hoenn, a southern region in the Pokémon World. Ash takes on the role of a teacher and mentor for a novice Pokémon trainer named May. Her brother Max accompanies them, and though he isn't a trainer, he knows large amounts of handy information. Brock (from the original series) soon catches up with Ash, but Misty has returned to Cerulean City to tend to her duties as a gym leader (Misty, along with other recurring characters, appears in the spin-off series Pokémon Chronicles).

The Japanese Logo for the current series, Diamond & Pearl

The Advanced Battle series concludes with the Battle Frontier saga, based on the Emerald version and including aspects of FireRed and LeafGreen. The most recent series is the Diamond and Pearl series, with Max leaving to pick his starter Pokémon, and May going to the Grand Festival in Johto. Ash, Brock, and a new companion named Dawn travel through the region of Sinnoh. In addition to the TV series, eleven Pokémon films have been made, with a twelfth to be released in Japan in July 2009. Collective bonuses, such as promotional trading cards, have been available with some of the films.

Films

  1. Pokémon: The First Movie (1998)
  2. Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)
  3. Pokémon 3: The Movie (2000)
  4. Pokémon 4Ever (2001)
  5. Pokémon Heroes (2002)
  6. Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker (2003)
  7. Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004)
  8. Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (2005)
  9. Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)
  10. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (2007)
  11. Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior (2008)
  12. Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009)
  • Note: Given release dates are for the original Japanese releases

Soundtracks

The 2.B.A. Master CD.

There have been several Pokémon CDs that have been released in North America, most of them in conjunction with the theatrical releases of the first three Pokémon films. These releases were commonplace until late 2001. On March 27, 2007, a tenth anniversary CD was released containing 18 tracks from the English dub; this was the first English-language release in over five years. Soundtracks of the Pokémon feature films have been released in Japan each year in conjunction with the theatrical releases.

Year Title
June 29, 1999[18] Pokémon 2BA Master
November 9, 1999[19] Pokémon: The First Movie
February 8, 2000 Pokémon World
May 9, 2000 Pokémon: The First Movie Original Motion Picture Score
July 18, 2000 Pokémon: The Movie 2000
2000 Pokémon The Movie 2000 Original Motion Picture Score
January 23, 2001 Totally Pokémon
April 3, 2001 Pokémon 3: The Ultimate Soundtrack
October 9, 2001 Pokémon Christmas Bash
March 27, 2007 Pokémon X: Ten Years of Pokémon

Pokémon Trading Card Game

Palkia, the Spacial Pokémon Trading Card Game card from Pokémon TCG Diamond and Pearl.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a collectible card game with a goal similar to a Pokémon battle in the video game series. Players use Pokémon cards, with individual strengths and weaknesses, in an attempt to defeat their opponent by "knocking out" his or her Pokémon cards.[20] The game was first published in North America by Wizards of the Coast in 1999.[21] However, with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Game Boy Advance video games, Nintendo USA took back the card game from Wizards of the Coast and started publishing the cards themselves.[21] The Expedition expansion introduced the Pokémon-e Trading Card Game, where the cards (for the most part) were compatible with the Nintendo e-Reader. Nintendo discontinued its production of e-Reader compatible cards with the release of EX FireRed & LeafGreen. In 1998, Nintendo released a Game Boy Color version of the trading card game in Japan; Pokémon Trading Card Game was subsequently released to the US and Europe in 2000. The game included digital versions cards from the original set of cards and the first two expansions (Jungle and Fossil), as well as several cards exclusive to the game. A Japan-exclusive sequel was released in 2001.[22]

Manga

There are various Pokémon manga series, four of which were released in English by Viz Media, and seven of them released in English by Chuang Yi. The manga differs greatly from the video games and cartoons in that the trainers, though frowned upon, were able to kill the opponent's Pokémon.

Manga released in English
Manga not released in English
  • Pokémon Card ni Natta Wake (How I Became a Pokémon Card) by Kagemaru Himeno, an artist for the TCG. There are six volumes and each includes a special promotional card. The stories tell the tales of the art behind some of Himeno’s cards.
  • Pokémon Get aa ze! by Asada Miho
  • Pocket Monsters Chamo-Chamo ★ Pretty ♪ by Yumi Tsukirino, who also made Magical Pokémon Journey.
  • Pokémon Card Master
  • Pocket Monsters Emerald Chōsen!! Battle Frontier by Ihara Shigekatsu
  • Pocket Monsters Zensho by Satomi Nakamura

Criticism and controversy

Morality

Pokémon has been criticized by some Christians, Jews, and Muslims; Christian concerns over Pokémon have primarily addressed perceived occultic and violent themes as well as the concept of "Pokémon evolution" (which some relate to the theory of evolution), which is said to go against the Biblical creation account in Genesis.[23] The Vatican, however, has countered that the Pokémon trading card game and video games are "full of inventive imagination" and have no "harmful moral side effects".[24] In the United Kingdom, the "Christian Power Cards" game was introduced in 1999 by David Tate who stated, "Some people aren't happy with Pokémon and want an alternative, others just want Christian games." The game was similar to the Pokémon TCG but used Biblical figures. [25] In 1999, the Jewish civil rights group Anti-Defamation League also pressured Nintendo to edit the image of the Pokémon trading cards for Golbat and Ditto because the cards depicted a left-facing manji, which the League interpreted as antisemitism, although these cards had been intended for sale only in Japan with Nintendo planning to release edited versions in North America the following year.[26] In 2001, Saudi Arabia banned Pokémon games and cards, alleging that the franchise promoted Zionism in violation of Muslim doctrine.[27][28] Pokémon has also been accused of promoting materialism.[29] In 1999, two nine-year-old boys sued Nintendo because they claimed that the Pokémon Trading Card Game caused their problematic gambling.[30]

Health

On December 16, 1997, more than 635 Japanese children were admitted to hospitals with epileptic seizures. It was determined that the seizures were caused by watching an episode of Pokémon, "Dennō Senshi Porygon", (most commonly translated "Electric Soldier Porygon", season 1, episode 38); as a result, this episode has not been aired since. In this particular episode, there were bright explosions with rapidly alternating blue and red color patterns.[31] It was determined in subsequent research that these strobing light effects cause some individuals to have epileptic seizures, even if the person had no previous history of epilepsy.[32] This incident is the most common focus of Pokémon-related parodies in other media, and was lampooned by The Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo"[33] and the South Park episode "Chinpokomon",[34] among others.

Monster in My Pocket

In March 2000, Morrison Entertainment Group, a small toy developer based at Manhattan Beach, California, sued Nintendo over claims that Pokémon infringed on its own "Monster in My Pocket" characters. A judge ruled that there was no infringement, so Morrison appealed the ruling in November 2001.[35]

Cultural influence

All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-400 in Pokémon livery.

Pokémon, being a popular franchise, has undoubtedly left its mark on pop culture. The Pokémon characters themselves have become pop culture icons; examples include two different Pikachu balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Pokémon-styled Boeing 747-400, thousands of merchandise items, and a theme park in Nagoya, Japan in 2005 and Taipei in 2006. Pokémon also appeared on the cover of the U.S. magazine Time in 1999. The Comedy Central show Drawn Together has a character named Ling-Ling which is a direct parody of Pikachu.[36] Several other shows such as ReBoot, The Simpsons, South Park, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Robot Chicken,All Grown Up! and Johnny Test have made references and spoofs of Pokémon, among other series. Pokémon was also featured on VH1's I Love the '90s: Part Deux. A live action show called Pokémon Live! toured the United States in late 2000. It was based on the popular Pokémon anime, but had some continuity errors relating to it.

In November 2001, Nintendo opened a store called the Pokémon Center in New York, in New York's Rockefeller Center,[37] modeled after the two other Pokémon Center stores in Tokyo and Osaka and named after a staple of the videogame series; Pokémon Centers are fictional buildings where Trainers take their injured Pokémon to be healed after combat.[38] The store sold Pokémon merchandise on a total of two floors, with items ranging from collectible shirts to stuffed Pokémon plushies.[39] The store also featured a Pokémon Distributing Machine in which players would place their game to receive an egg of a Pokémon that is being given out at that time. The store also had tables that were open for players of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to duel each other or an employee. The store was closed and replaced by the Nintendo World Store on May 14, 2005.[40]

 

 

Sanrio

August 16, 2009

Sanrio

 

 
Sanrio Co., Ltd.
Founded 1960
Founder(s) Shintaro Tsuji
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Website http://www.sanrio.com
Sanrio products stand at a commercial convention

Sanrio Co., Ltd. (株式会社サンリオ Kabushiki-kaisha Sanrio?) TYO: 8136 is a Japanese company that designs and licenses branded characters. Their products include stationery, school supplies, gifts and accessories. Sanrio's best known character is Hello Kitty, a white cat with red bow and no visible mouth, one of the most successful marketing brands in the world.[1]

Contents

 

 History

Sanrio was founded by Shintaro Tsuji as the Yamanashi Silk Company in 1960, using 1 million yen in capital. The company produced a line of character merchandise around gift-giving occasions. It wasn't until 1973 that the company was officially established under the name "Sanrio." The word Sanrio comes from "San" and "Río", Spanish words appearing on names of cities such as "San Francisco", "San Diego", "Río de Janeiro". These words mean "saint" and "river" respectively.[2]

Besides selling their famed character goods, Sanrio also takes part in movie production and publishing. Furthermore, they participate in the fast food industry, running a franchise of KFC in Saitama. They also own the rights to the Peanuts characters in Japan. Sanrio also has an animatronics company branch called Kokoro Company, Ltd. ("Kokoro" being the Japanese word for "heart"), best known for the Actroid android.

Sanrio is the largest greeting card manufacturer in Japan.[citation needed] In 2002, they began a joint business venture with the Walt Disney Company for their greeting cards.

Hello Kitty was added to the early characters of Sanrio in 1974 and was released in 1975. The popular mouthless feline has had both peaks and drops in sales over the years, but always has been the highest contributor to Sanrio's sales. Other notably popular characters through the years have been The Little Twin Stars (created by Mr. Tsuji himself), My Melody, Keroppi, Tuxedo Sam, Badtz-Maru, Tenorikuma, Usahana, Pochacco, Chococat, and Cinnamoroll. Sanrio constantly adds new characters to its lineup (up to three a year), so some of the older characters go into retirement. Some of Sanrio's newest characters are Charmmy Kitty (Hello Kitty's pet cat), Kuromi (My Melody's rival) and Chi Chai Monchan (a pink monkey who balances bananas on his head.) For a time, Osamu Tezuka's baby unicorn character Unico, who starred in two feature-length anime movies in the early 1980s, was also part of the Sanrio empire; however, the rights to Unico shifted to Tezuka's own company after Tezuka's death in 1989.

In late 2003, Sanrio won the "Top Brand with a Conscience" award from the Medinge Group of Sweden for its communication principles. The company has partnered with UNICEF since 1984.

In 2006, Sanrio went Digital with a joint venture with Typhoon Games and launched Sanrio Digital to expand its brand and revenues through the Internet, Online Games and Mobile Services.

"The Adventure of Hello Kitty & Friends" is the first ever made Hello Kitty TV series animation in 3D. The animation is licensed by Sanrio Digital and produced by Dream Cortex. The first season with 26 episodes will premier on select networks in Europe and Asia, including Hong Kong, beginning in the first quarter of 2008.

Locations

Sanrio, Inc. headquarters in South San Francisco

Sanrio hosts two theme parks in Japan, Sanrio Puroland in Tama, Tokyo, and Harmonyland [3]in Hiji, Ōita, Kyūshū.

Sanrio Inc. is Sanrio's American subsidiary. Sanrio Inc. has offices in South San Francisco, California and Torrance, California. Sanrio's first Western hemisphere store opened in San Jose's Eastridge Mall. In 2008 Sanrio opened its high-end boutique called Sanrio Luxe in New York City's Times Square. In the Western Hemisphere SANRIO character-branded products are sold in upwards of 12,000 locations including department, specialty, national chain stores and over 85 Sanrio boutiques.

Sanrio characters

Toys from Sanrio

Filmography

From 1977 to 1985, Sanrio produced the following movies through their Sanrio Films label:

After "A Journey Through Fairyland", Sanrio switched gears and started doing short films, OAVs, and TV shows based on their characters (Hello Kitty, etc.). In 2006, Sanrio announced they're going to do feature-length films again when they announced they were making 2 new movies: Nezumi Monogatari: George To Gerald no Bouken (Mouse Story: George and Gerald's Adventure), about mice living together, and Cinnamoroll: The Movie, about the character Cinnamoroll. The two movies were released as a double feature on December 22, 2007 and are expected to be released overseas.

 Publishing

Sanrio publishes many books featuring its own characters. Additionally, they publish art books (for instance, those by Keibun Ōta) and other books. Sanrio publishes books in many different languages, including Japanese and English. Sanrio published video games in the early 1990's under the name Character Soft.

Notes

 

Miffy

August 16, 2009

Miffy

 

 

Miffy is a small female rabbit in a picture book drawn by Dick Bruna. Her original Dutch name is Nijntje [nɛɪ̯ncǝ] which stems from a toddler's pronunciation of the word "konijntje" meaning "little rabbit".

History

Miffy was created in 1955 after Bruna had been telling his one-year-old son Sierk stories about a little rabbit they had seen earlier in the dunes, while on holiday at Egmond aan Zee. Miffy became a girl after Bruna decided that he wanted to draw a dress and not trousers on his rabbit. Depending on the story, Miffy can be a baby or four years old.

At first Miffy looked like a toy animal, with floppy ears, but by 1963 she looked like the way we see Miffy today. Miffy is drawn in a very minimalist style, requiring only a few lines and one or two primary colors. There are some colors that are never used, and Bruna can be picky about a certain shade of color, brown and grey for example, and will search for it until he is happy. Even though the things that he draws are not realistic, they are instantly recognisable, and Miffy is obviously a rabbit.

There are now almost 30 titles for Miffy, and many more for the other characters. Bruna has produced almost 100 books.

The Miffy books each contain sixteen pages of story. Each page has one illustration and four lines of verse, the last word of the second line rhymes with the last of the fourth. They are written about things that children can understand, and situations they will face such as going to the hospital and going to school, and they always have a happy ending. Some books have no text at all, such as Miffy's Dream

The books are printed in small format. Bruna considers it important that his audience feels that his books are there for them, not for their parents. Most Miffy books have an advisory reading level of age 4 to 8 years.

Bruna's books have now been translated into 40 different languages, and over 80 million copies have been sold all over the world. He has won many awards for his books, such as the Golden Brush in 1990 for Boris Bear and the Silver Brush for Miffy In The Tent in 1996. In 1997 he was awarded the Silver Slate for Dear Grandma Bunny, a book where Miffy's Grandmother was sick and died.

The other characters that appear in the books are her family: Miffy's parents, her Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Alice, and her Uncle Bob, who appears in Miffy Goes Flying. A new brother or sister for Miffy is introduced in Miffy And The New Baby. She also has many friends, Boris and Barbara Bear, who first appeared in 1989 and are the future rulers of the universe, Poppy Pig, who appeared in 1977, and her niece Grunty, Snuffy, who appeared in 1969, and other bunnies such as Aggie and Melanie.

Miffy was designed as a children's book character, but the design is now used on many other things like clothes, stationery, toys, glasses, household items etc.

Miffy has been appearing on TV since 2003, in a show named after her that airs on children's television channels such as Treehouse in Canada and Noggin in the U.S. from April 7, 2003 through April 1, 2007. Miffy and Friends moved to public television. The show adds several new characters such as Melanie's African family, as well as the family of Boris' and Barbara's common cousin, Umik. It is very likely animated by the use of mostly stiff-jointed plastic forms, covered with thick vinyl faces and torsos, accented with cloth and clay- following the minimalistic Bruna hallmark. The TV series was produced by Pedri Animation BV [2], a Dutch stop-motion animation company. It is voiced simply by a feminine storytelling narrator.

Many think that Miffy is Japanese, because Sanrio's Hello Kitty and friends are rendered using a similar line style. In addition, the Miffy brand is popular in Japan and there is a lot of Japanese-made Miffy merchandise. In an interview for the British paper The Daily Telegraph, Bruna expressed his dislike for Hello Kitty. "'That,' he says darkly, 'is a copy [of Miffy], I think. I don't like that at all. I always think, "No, don't do that. Try to make something that you think of yourself",[1].

In Bruna's hometown, Utrecht, there is a square named after Nijntje, the Nijntjepleintje (lit: Nijntje Little Square, to retain the rhyme) and in 2006, the Centraal Museum opened a permanent exhibition, the "dick bruna huis".

Miffy celebrated her fiftieth birthday in 2005. This has been celebrated in cities across the globe, for example in the Manchester Art Gallery in England. She also serves a "celebrity character spokesperson" for Unicef.

Miffy Story Books

From Dick Bruna, Linders J, Sierman K, de Wijs I and Vrooland-Löb T. Wanders Publishers, Zwolle, 2006. (English) ISBN 90 400 8342 8 (Dutch) ISBN 90 400 9106 4

  • 1955 Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo (First Version of Miffy)
  • 1963 Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo, Miffy in the Snow, Miffy at the Seaside
  • 1970 Miffy Goes Flying, Miffy's Birthday
  • 1975 Miffy at the Playground, Miffy in Hospital
  • 1979 Miffy's Dream
  • 1982 Miffy's Bicycle
  • 1984 Miffy at School
  • 1988 Miffy Goes to Stay, Grandpa and Grandma Bunny
  • 1991 Miffy is Crying, Miffy's House
  • 1992 Auntie Alice's Party
  • 1995 Miffy in the Tent
  • 1996 Dear Grandma Bunny
  • 1997 Miffy at the Gallery
  • 1999 Miffy and Melanie
  • 2001 Miffy the Ghost, Miffy the Fairy
  • 2002 Miffy Dances
  • 2003 Miffy's Letter, The New Baby
  • 2004 Miffy's Garden
  • 2005 Miffy in Lolly Land, A Flute for Miffy
  • 2006 Hangoor (Flopear) In Dutch only
  • 2007 Queen Miffy
  • 2008 Miffy the Artist, Nijntje en de seizoenen (Miffy and the seasons), Nijntje is Stout (Miffy is naughty)

Miffy the Artist is published in association with the Tate Gallery, London.

References

  1. ^ [1] Daily Telegraph, 31 July 2008, Dick Bruna creator of the Miffy books talks about his life and work.

 

 

Pikachu

August 16, 2009

Pikachu

 

Pikachu
Image:Sugimoris025.png
National Pokédex
Arbok - Pikachu (#025) - Raichu
Game series Pokémon series
First game Pokémon Red and Blue
Designed by Ken Sugimori
Voiced by Ikue Otani

Pikachu (ピカチュウ Pikachū?) is one of the fictional species of Pokémon creatures from the multi-billion-dollar[1] Pokémon media franchise—a collection of video games, anime, manga, books, trading cards, and other media created by Satoshi Tajiri. As do all Pokémon, Pikachu fight other Pokémon in battles central to the anime, manga, and games of the series.[2] Pikachu is among the most recognizable Pokémon, largely due to the fact that a Pikachu is a central character in the Pokémon anime series. Pikachu is widely considered the most popular Pokémon,[3] is regarded as the official mascot of the Pokémon franchise, and has become an icon of Japanese culture in recent years.

In the Pokémon franchise, Pikachu are often found in houses, forests,[4] plains, and, occasionally, near mountains, islands, and electrical sources (such as power plants), on most continents throughout the fictional world. As an Electric-type Pokémon, Pikachu can store electricity in its cheeks and release it in lightning-based attacks.[5]

Contents

Concept and creation

The design and art direction for Pikachu were provided by Ken Sugimori,[6] a friend of the creator of the Pocket Monsters game, Satoshi Tajiri, and the species appeared as the starting character for players in Pokémon Yellow: Special Edition for the Game Boy. In the early Pokémon video games, all Pokémon were portrayed by two-dimensional sprites, but in later releases appearance has been conveyed by 3D computer graphics. Throughout the games, Pikachu has been portrayed with no spoken dialogue. In the series' anime, Pikachu has facial expressions, body language, and speaks by repeating syllables of its name, using different pitches and tones.

Though not the first Pokémon created, Pikachu was the first "Electric-type" Pokémon created, conceived after the type was suggested to Sugimori and designed around the concept of electricity and the common symbol for lightning.[7] The name is a portmanteau of the Japanese words pikapika, an onomatopoeia for electric sparkling, and chū, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a mouse's squeak.[8] In an interview, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl director Junichi Masuda noted Pikachu's name as one of the most difficult to create, due to an effort to make it appealing to both Japanese and American audiences.[9] It refers to both the overall species and to the individual within the games, anime, and manga series.

Characteristics

Pikachu are small, mouse-like Pokémon that have short, yellow fur with brown markings covering their backs and parts of their tails.[10] They have black-tipped, pointy ears and red circles on their cheeks, which are said to contain "electrical sacs".[4] Their tails are shaped in the form of a lightning bolt.[11] In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, gender differences were introduced for some Pokémon; a female Pikachu now has an indent at the end of its tail, giving it a heart-shaped appearance.

The Pokédex, in several games in the series, states that Pikachu forage for berries. In lieu of climbing trees,[12] they use small electrical bolts to release the berries and apples from the tree, roasting them at the same time.[13] For already fallen berries and apples they use their electricity to roast and tenderize them. They are said to store electricity in their cheeks,[4] and by simply squeezing them they can discharge sparks, lightning bolts, or other forms of electricity. Discharging sparks and thunderbolts may be a sign of wariness from the Pokémon. An inability to discharge electricity, as occurs in the presence of a strong magnetic field, causes an illness with flu-like symptoms. Pikachu tend to gather in areas with high amounts of thunderstorm activity. When threatened, a group of Pikachu can generate an intense electrical output, and the electro-magnetic forces exerted by the resulting field can even produce short-lived, localized thunder and lightning storms.[14] They occasionally use an electric shock to recharge a fellow Pikachu that is in a weakened state.[15]

Pikachu evolves into Raichu via the use of a Thunder Stone; however, it is somewhat common for trainers to choose not to evolve their Pikachu. In the Pokémon Yellow game, using a Thunder Stone on a Pikachu makes it cry and refuse to evolve. From the second generation of the Pokémon games onward, Pikachu has an evolutionary predecessor, Pichu, which evolves into Pikachu after establishing a close friendship with its trainer.

 Appearances

In the video games

In the video games, Pikachu is a low-level Pokémon. It has appeared in all of the games naturally without having to trade. The game Pokémon Yellow features a Pikachu as the representative Pokémon, featured on the box art and as the only available starter Pokémon. Based on the Pikachu from the Pokémon anime, it refuses to stay in its Poké Ball, and instead follows the main character around on screen. The trainer can speak to it and it displays many different reactions depending on how it is treated. Another game centered around Pikachu is Hey You, Pikachu! for the Nintendo 64.[16] The player interacts with Pikachu through a microphone, issuing commands to play various mini-games and act out situations. The game Pokémon Channel follows a similar premise of interacting with the Pikachu, though without the microphone.[17] Pikachu also appear in almost all levels of Pokémon Snap. A Pikachu is also one of the sixteen starters and ten partners in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games.

Pikachu has also appeared in Super Smash Bros.,[18] Super Smash Bros. Melee,[19] and Super Smash Bros. Brawl[20] as a player character.

 In the anime

Ash Ketchum and Pikachu together in the pilot episode, "Pokémon, I Choose You!"

The Pokémon anime series and films feature the adventures of Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu, traveling through the various regions of the Pokémon universe. They are accompanied by a group of alternating friends, including Misty, Brock, May, Max, Tracey, and Dawn.

In the first episode, Ash Ketchum receives his Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starting Pokémon. All new trainers are given a starting Pokémon; in Ash's homeland of Kanto this is often Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur, but Ash slept in and got Pikachu instead. At first, Pikachu largely ignores Ash's requests, shocking him frequently and refusing to be confined to the conventional method of Pokémon transportation, a Poké Ball. However, Ash puts himself in danger to defend Pikachu from a flock of wild Spearow,[21] then rushes the electric mouse to a Pokémon Center. Through these demonstrations of respect and unconditional commitment to Pokémon, Pikachu warms up to Ash, and their friendship is formed. However, it still refuses to go into its Poké Ball. Soon after, Pikachu shows great power that sets it apart from Pokémon, and other Pikachu, which causes Team Rocket to constantly attempt to capture it in order to win favor from their boss, Giovanni.

Many other wild and trained Pikachu appear throughout the series, often interacting with Ash and his Pikachu. The most notable among these is Richie's Pikachu, Sparky. Like most other Pokémon, Pikachu communicates only by saying syllables of its own name. It is voiced by Ikue Ōtani in all versions of the anime.

In other Pokémon media

Pikachu is one of the main Pokémon used in most of the Pokémon manga series. In Pokémon Adventures, Red and Yellow both train a strong Pikachu. It is originally captured by Red, but after Red goes missing two years later, Yellow teams up with his Pikachu, accompanying it in their quest to find Red. It is also featured in series based on the anime, such as Electric Tale of Pikachu, Ash & Pikachu, and other series, such as Magical Pokémon Journey and Getto Da Ze.

Collectible cards featuring Pikachu have appeared since the initial Pokémon Trading Card Game released in October 1996, including limited edition promotional cards.[22] The character has also been used in promotional merchandising at fast-food chains such as McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King.[23][24][25][26]

Cultural impact

Background

A Toyota Ist customised to resemble Pikachu

Pikachu first appeared in 1996, among the 151 initial Pokémon mascots when Game Freak delivered the first-ever Pokémon game for the Japanese Game Boy.[27] The creators of the initial 151 Pokémon characters treated each one equally, and left it to the fans to decide which one would become the official mascot. The fans chose Pikachu, which alternatively led to its appearance in the anime alongside Ash.[28]

Today, Pikachu is regarded as the Japanese answer to Mickey Mouse[3] and as being part of a movement of "cute capitalism".[29] Pikachu are obtainable in all of the Pokémon video games to date, with a prominent role in Pokémon Yellow. The leading characters of many of the anime and manga series, including Pokémon Adventures, and Magical Pokémon Journey, have captured or befriended Pikachu.

In popular culture

Pikachu, being the most famous of the Pokémon characters, has made multiple appearances in popular culture. In 1998, the Mayor of Topeka, Kansas renamed the town "ToPikachu" for a day as part of a promotional event for the franchise.[30] A "got milk?" advertisement featured Pikachu on April 25, 2000.[31] In addition, a Pikachu balloon has been featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2001.[32] Its appearance on 22 May 2006 during the morning rush hour was as part of a test examining parade balloon handling procedures.[33] The original balloon was flown publicly at the Pokémon Tenth Anniversary "Party of the Decade" on August 8, 2006 in Bryant Park in New York City,[34][35][36][37] and a new Pikachu Balloon that chases a Poké Ball and has light-up cheeks debuted at the 2006 Parade.[38] The balloon was chosen on an online survey at iVillage as the second-best balloon in the 2007 Parade.[39]

The ANA Boeing 747-400 airplane painted with Pikachu and other Pokémon (visible: Clefairy, Togepi, Mewtwo, and Snorlax)

A picture of Pikachu has also been featured on the ANA Boeing 747-400 (JA8962), landing at London Heathrow Airport.[29] In 2000, Pikachu placed eighth in an Animax poll of favorite anime characters.[40] In 2002, Ash's Pikachu received fifteenth place in TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time.[41]

During the first episode of the eleventh series of Top Gear, presentor Richard Hammond compared an image of the Tata Nano to one of Pikachu stating "they've saved money on the styling 'cause they've just based it on this."[42] In the third season of Heroes, Hiro Nakamura is nicknamed "Pikachu" by Daphne Millbrook, much to his chagrin. He is called this again by Tracy Strauss, after which he excuses himself before punching her in the face.

 Pikachurin

A newly-discovered ligand believed to provide better visual acuity, discovered by Osaka Bioscience Institute Foundation (大阪バイオサイエンス研究所?), is named "Pikachurin", borrowed from the nimbleness of Pikachu.[43] The name was inspired due to Pikachu's "lightning-fast moves and shocking electric effects".[44]

Notes

  1. ^ "Pokémon Franchise Approaches 150 Million Games Sold". PR Newswire. http://sev.prnewswire.com/entertainment/20051004/LATU06404102005-1.html. Retrieved on 2006-02-28. 
  2. ^ "Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire Review (page 1)". IGN. http://uk.gameboy.ign.com/articles/389/389660p1.html. Retrieved on 2006-06-01. 
  3. ^ a b Tobin, Joseph (2004) (PDF). Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822332876. http://www.nordicom.gu.se/common/publ_pdf/87_Yearbook%202002.pdf#page=55. Retrieved on 2009-06-09. 
  4. ^ a b c Pokédex: It lives in forests with others. It stores electricity in the pouches on its cheeks. Game Freak. Pokémon Diamond. (Nintendo). Nintendo DS. (2007-04-22)
  5. ^ Sora Ltd.. Pikachu Trophy Information. (Nintendo). Wii. (2008-01-31) "When danger draws near, it uses tiny electric pouches within its cheeks to discharge electricity."
  6. ^ Stuart Bishop (2003-05-30). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. http://www.webcitation.org/5VSJaR6xT. Retrieved on 2008-06-04. 
  7. ^ "『ポケットモンスター』ˈˈスタッフインタビュー" (in Japanese). Nintendo. http://www.nintendo.co.jp/nom/0007/gfreak/page06.html. Retrieved on June 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Japan: The True Meaning of". http://kotaku.com/347021/the-true-meaning-of-. Retrieved on 2008-06-02. 
  9. ^ Noble, McKinley (2009-03-23). "Pokemon Platinum: Developer Interview!". GamePro. http://www.gamepro.com/article/previews/209340/pokemon-platinum-developer-interview-pt-2/. Retrieved on 2009-06-09. 
  10. ^ The in-game Pokédex of the Game Boy series (A copy of them from pokémondungeon.com) URL accessed on March 27, 2006.
  11. ^ Sora Ltd.. Pikachu Trophy Information. (Nintendo). Wii. (2008-01-31) "Its lightning-bolt tail and round cheeks are its trademarks."
  12. ^ "PokeZam.com - Episode 366 - Pokeblock, Stock and Berry". PokeZam.com. http://www.pokezam.com/anime/episodes/challenge/366.php. 
  13. ^ Pokédex: This intelligent Pokémon roasts hard Berries with electricity to make them tender enough to eat. Game Freak. Pokémon Stadium. (Nintendo). Nintendo 64. (in English). (2000-03-06)
  14. ^ Pokédex: When several of these Pokémon gather, their electricity could build and cause lightning storms. Game Freak. Pokémon Red and Blue. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (in English). (1998-09-30)
  15. ^ Pokédex: It occasionally uses an electric shock to recharge a fellow Pikachu that is in a weakened state. Game Freak. Pokémon Platinum. (Nintendo). Nintendo DS. (in English). (2009-03-22)
  16. ^ Hey You, Pikachu! Nintendo.com Retrieved July 17, 2006
  17. ^ Pokémon Channel IGN.com Retrieved July 17, 2006
  18. ^ Smash Bros.com Retrieved July 17, 2006
  19. ^ Super Smash Bros Melee. detstar.com Retrieved July 17, 2006
  20. ^ Smash Bros. Dojo! Pikachu Retrieved September 17, 2008
  21. ^ "Pokémon - I Choose You!". Takeshi Shudō (writer). Pokémon. Various. September 8, 1998. No. 01, season 1.
  22. ^ EX Legend Maker set card list Pokebeach.com. Retrieved October 15, 2006.
  23. ^ "The Pojo - TCG Set Lists McDonald's Campaign Expansion Set". http://www.pojo.com/priceguide/jpMcD.html. Retrieved on 2008-06-04. 
  24. ^ "Fastfoodtoys.Net Pokémon 2000 Toys". http://www.fastfoodtoys.net/burger%20king%20pokemon%20power%20cards.htm. Retrieved on 2008-06-04. 
  25. ^ "Restaurant chain entertainment promotions monitor, June 2003". Entertainment Marketing Letter. June 01, 2003. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-3479164_ITM. Retrieved on 2009-06-30. 
  26. ^ "Pokemon at Wendy's Promotion Begins!". May 20, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20080212014130/http://pokemonelite2000.com/pastnews0503.html. Retrieved on 2009-06-30. 
  27. ^ Sora Ltd.. Pikachu Trophy Information. (Nintendo). Wii. (2008-01-31) "Appearances: Pokémon Red/Green (1996)"
  28. ^ "Pikachu (Character Profile)". IGN. http://stars.ign.com/objects/920/920547.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-29. 
  29. ^ a b Allison, Anne (2002) The Cultural Politics of Pokemon Capitalism Media in Transition 2: globalization and convergence
  30. ^ Staff (November 1999). "What's the Deal with Pokémon?". Electronic Gaming Monthly (124): 172. 
  31. ^ "Pikachu Guzzles Milk to Become Most Powerful Pokemon". Business Wire. 2000-05-25. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2000_April_26/ai_61858603/. Retrieved on 2008-07-29. 
  32. ^ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Ncytourist.com Retrieved July 17, 2006
  33. ^ Crecente, Brian (2006-05-22). "Giant Pikachu Runs Flights Through NYC". Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/gaming/pokemon/giant-Pikachu-runs-flights-through-nyc-175515.php. Retrieved on 2006-06-26. 
  34. ^ Zappia, Corina (August 8, 2006). "How Has Pokémon Not Died Yet?". NY Mirror (The Village Voice). http://www.villagevoice.com/2006-08-08/nyc-life/how-has-pok-mon-not-died-yet/. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. 
  35. ^ Clark, Roger (August 8, 2006). "Pokemon Mania Takes Over Bryant Park". NY1 News. NY1 News. http://www.ny1.com/Default.aspx?SecID=1000&ArID=61663. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. 
  36. ^ Sekula, Anna (August 17, 2006). "Gamers Crowd Bryant Park for Pokemon Tournament". BizBash (BizBash Media Inc.). http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/6602_gamers_crowd_bryant_park_for_pokemon_tournament.php. Retrieved on 2009-05-18. 
  37. ^ Pokémon Party of the Decade
  38. ^ Whitt, Tom (2006-05-23). "Pikachu Soars as Trial Balloon for a Safer Macy's Parade". http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/23/nyregion/23balloon.html?fta=y. Retrieved on 2008-07-29. 
  39. ^ Voting Results
  40. ^ "
 

Cuteness in Japanese

August 16, 2009

Cuteness in Japanese culture

"Kawaii" redirects here. For the manufacturer of musical instruments, see Kawai; for the Hawaiian island, see Kauai.

Since the 1970s, cuteness (in Japanese adjective, kawaii (かわいい?)) has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, behavior, and mannerisms.[1] Foreign observers often find this cuteness intriguing, revolting or even childish because the Japanese employ it in a vast array of situations and demographics where, in other cultures, it would be considered incongruously juvenile or frivolous (for example, in government publications, public service warnings, office environments, military advertisements, and commercial airliners, among many others).[citation needed]

Contents

History

The rise of cuteness in Japanese culture emerged in the 1970s as part of a new style of writing. Many teenage girls began to write laterally using mechanical pencils. These pencils produced very fine lines, as opposed to traditional Japanese writing that varied in thickness and was vertical. Also, the girls would write in big, round characters and they added little pictures to their writing, such as hearts, stars, smiley faces, and letters of Latin alphabet. These pictures would be inserted randomly and made the writing very hard to read.[2] As a result, this writing style caused a lot of controversy and was banned in many schools. During the 1980s, however, this cute new writing was adopted by magazines and comics and was put onto packaging and advertising. From 1984-86, Yamane Kazuma studied the development of cute handwriting, which he called Anomalous Female Teenage Handwriting, in depth. Although it was commonly thought that the writing style was something that teenagers had picked up from comics, he found that teenagers had come up with the style themselves, as part of an underground movement.[2]

Later, cute handwriting became associated with acting childish and using infantile slang words. Because of this growing trend, companies, such as Sanrio, came out with merchandise like Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty was an immediate success and the obsession with cute continued to progress in other areas as well. The 1980s also saw the rise of cute idols, such as Seiko Matsuda, who is largely credited with popularizing the trend. Women began to emulate Seiko Matsuda and her cute fashion style and mannerisms, which emphasized the helplessness and innocence of young girls.[3] No longer limited to teenagers, however, the spread of making things as cute as possible, even common household items, was embraced by people of all ages. Now there are airplanes painted with Pikachu on the side, and each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, the Tokyo police, and the government television station all have their own cute mascots. Currently, Sanrio’s line of more than 50 characters takes in more than $1 billion a year and remains the most successful company to capitalize on the cute trend.[4]

Prevalence

Cute elements can be found almost everywhere in Japan, from big business to corner markets and national government, ward, and town offices.[4][5] Many companies, large and small, use cute mascots to present their wares and services to the public. For example:

  • Pikachu, a character from Pokémon, adorns the side of three All Nippon Airways passenger jets.
  • Asahi Bank used Miffy (Nijntje), a character from a Dutch series of children's picture books, on some of its ATM and credit cards.
  • Monkichi, a cute monkey character, can be found on the packaging for a line of condoms[6]
  • All 47 prefectures have cute mascot characters
  • The Japan Post "Yū-Pack" mascot is a stylized mailbox.[7]
  • The Japan Post also uses other cute mascot characters, for example, on stamps.
  • Some police forces in Japan have their own moe mascots, which sometimes adorn the front of kōban (police boxes).
  • Sanrio

Cute can be also used to describe a specific fashion sense[8][9] of an individual, and generally includes clothing that appears to be made for young children, outside of the size, or clothing that accentuates the cuteness of the individual wearing the clothing. Ruffles and pastel colors are commonly (but not always) featured, and accessories often include toys or bags featuring anime characters.[4]

Perception in Japan

As a cultural phenomenon, cuteness is increasingly accepted in Japan as a part of Japanese culture and national identity. Tomoyuki Sugiyama, author of "Cool Japan", believes that "cuteness" is rooted in Japan's harmony-loving culture, and Nobuyoshi Kurita, a sociology professor at Musashi University in Tokyo, has stated that "cute" is a "magic term" that encompasses everything that's acceptable and desirable in Japan.[10]

On the other hand, those skeptical of cuteness consider it a sign of an infantile mentality.[10] In particular, Hiroto Murasawa, professor of beauty and culture at Osaka Shoin Women’s University asserts that cuteness is "a mentality that breeds non-assertion ... Individuals who choose to stand out get beaten down."[10]

Influence on other cultures

Cute merchandise and products are especially popular in some parts of east Asia, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China.[4]

In some Asian and western cultures, the Japanese word for cute (kawaii, かわいい) has joined a number of other Japanese words borrowed by overseas Japanophiles, sometimes in the wrong context. While the usage is almost entirely limited to the otaku subculture, it has been used by American singer Gwen Stefani, who gave kawaii a brief mention in her Hollaback Girl music video.[11]

Linguistic note: The word "kawaii" in Japanese has a narrower definition than the English word "cute". When applied to pop culture, "cute" will suffice; however "kawaii" refers primarily to the affection of a parent toward a child coupled with the protectiveness for the innocent and weak. Thus a pop cartoon character is considered "kawaii" because it exemplifies the innocence of a child and evokes general protective, caring instincts in the viewer. Other translations of "kawaii" can include "adorable", "precious", "lovable" or "innocent".[12] According to sociologist Sharon Kinsella, "Kawaii is a derivation of a term whose principle meaning was 'shy' or 'embarrassed' and secondary meanings were 'pathetic', 'vulnerable', 'darling', 'loveable' and 'small'. In fact the modern sense of the word kawaii still has some nuances of pitiful whilst the term kawaisô derived directly from kawaii means pathetic, poor, and pitiable in a generally negative if not pleasing sense."[2]

See also

 References

 Notes

  1. ^ Diana Lee, "Inside Look at Japanese Cute Culture" (September 1, 2005).
  2. ^ a b c Kinsella, Sharon. 1995. "Cuties in Japan" [1] accessed August 1, 2009.
  3. ^ See [2] URL accessed February 11, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Cute Inc.". WIRED. Dec 1999. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.12/cute.html. 
  5. ^ Business Week, "In Japan, Cute Conquers All".
  6. ^ Monkichi condoms. URL accessed September 30, 2006.
  7. ^ Japan Post site showing mailbox mascot. URL accessed April 19, 2006.
  8. ^ The New Yorker "FACT: SHOPPING REBELLION: What the kids want". URL accessed April 19, 2006.
  9. ^ Time Asia: "Arts: Kwest For Kawaii". URL accessed April 19, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c Quotes and paraphrases from: Yuri Kageyama (June 14, 2006). "Cuteness a hot-selling commodity in Japan". Associated Press. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/14/AR2006061401122.html. 
  11. ^ Salon.com: "Gwen Stefani neuters Japanese street fashion to create spring's must-have accessory: Giggling geisha!". URL accessed April 19, 2006.
  12. ^ [3] _The Japanese Self in Cultural Logic_ by Takei Sugiyama Libre, c. 2004 University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0824828402, p. 86.

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