You might have seen Capybaras in Japan. Either at a zoo or as the popular character that triggered numerous merchandise and established a huge fan base of the biggest rodent on earth. What characteristic feature is it that makes Japanese people instantly fall in love with capybaras?
Native to South America, one of its charming part is surely the heavy barrel-shaped body and short head. Being a herbivore and very social animals, another charismatic aspect is without any doubt the peaceful and harmonic behaviour. Capybaras are gentle and will allow humans to pet and hand-feed them when held in captivity at zoos. They sometimes even take a hot bath in an onsen at the zoo, just like people in Japan do!
A century ago, the Japanese company tryworks has produced a cute character called カピバラ (kapibara), which boosted the popularity of Capybaras in Japan. The product palette includes various merchandise, starting from stuffed animals, other figures and toys, clothes, tableware, bags, wallets and many more goods.
The character’s “full” name is カピバラさん (kapibara san, Mr.Capybara), a capybara that often lets its younger siblings ride on its back and let them have a nap there.
The main capybara has a couple of fellow friends, such as the following:
●リーゼントくん (ri-zento kun, “Regent-boy”
The alternative orientated capybara. He does not want to be the same as everyone else, and as a hipster, he is colouring his fur purple. Probably to protest against the capybara society!
●ホワイトさん (howaito san, “Ms. White”)
It is a rare white female capybara. Even though originally white, she is doing her best effort to preserve her white fur by eating fresh grass.
●リャマさん (ryama san, “Mr. Lama”)
Though not having any bad intentions, this lama is usually putting his/her(?) interest first.
●なまけものくん (namakemono-kin, “Lazy-boy”)
Moving slowly, that animal does not intend to be lazy. Though it totally looks like a bird, it is supposedly not.
Japan is famous for creating stories around the characters companies want to become popular. It is often a way to try customers to identify with the characters. No matter if young or old, you will surely get charmed by capybaras, too!
kapibara-san Official website*Japanese Only