So when one Japanese woman requested a “character cake” for her child’s birthday she felt assured she would end up with a nice, pretty Mickey Mouse or Pokemon design.
What she got was this big-nosed beady-eyed mouth breathing character you see before you. I guess she should have been more specific.
The photo of this cake was making the rounds on Twitter after the woman’s brother posted it, leaving many people wondering who or what that’s supposed to be.
Some people in the twitterverse more hip to Japanese children’s literature recognized this as a Kobito-Dukan, a character from the picture book of the same name by Toshitaka Nabata.
In the story children try to find these magical kobito-dukan, which roughly translates to dwarves – not the medical kind, the magical kind that can do tricks if you teach it. Kobito-dukan are kind of how the Smurf movie would have looked if it were directed by David Lynch. They wear unique tights and have beady, hollow, pitch-black eyes that pierce your soul until it cries out in agon…
Sorry. Anyway, even if you’re not familiar with the books, you’ve probably seen these oddities floating around convenience stores, souvenir shops, or capsule machines as they’re currently riding a merchandising boom that’d make Hello Kitty perk her ears and take notice.
So, the cake maker wasn’t really out of line making this thing. The kid probably loved it. For some reason they’re into them even though many of us adults get a severe case of the willies.
▼ I don’t think this video is an official release, but if offers a good introduction to kobito-dukan.
▼ “Maybe it’d look better if we light some candl… oh.”
▼ The cake was based on this particular Kobito-Dukan who apparently enjoys docking with cows’ udders.
▼ I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I don’t think these things will catch on in the States any time soon.