Rilakkuma is a kigurumi, a stuffed animal suit bear, produced by the Japanese company San-X, created by former employee Aki Kondo. There is a zipper on his back, and inside there is a light blue polka dot patterned material. He doesn’t like his zipper being opened, and the reason for the zipper on his back and it’s contents inside are unknown.
Aki Kondo once watched a television show about dogs, and she wished to have a dog of her own, but she did not have time to look after a dog due to being so busy at work. So she decided to create her own pet in the form of Rilakkuma.
Rilakkuma’s name is combination of the Japanese words for relax and bear. It means “bear in relaxed mood”. He likes being lazy, being stress-free, being relaxed, and doing things at his own pace.
According to the backstory from San-X, Rilakkuma suddenly appeared at female office worker Kaoru’s apartment one day, and he decided to settle down there. From that day to the present, he has lived there and Kaoru takes care of him. He spends lazy days at Kaoru’s house every day. Most of the time, he thinks about meals and snacks.
Rilakkuma’s Backstory and Personality
Rilakkuma has a very cute appearance, but he also has a very cute personality that makes me think he is even more cute. I’m sure if you know about his personality, you can enjoy Rilakkuma’s world even more! So I’ll introduce his backstory and personality through what I’ve learned from reading the Rilakkuma picture books.
How Rilakkuma Appeared At Kaoru’s House
One day, Kaoru returned home, and Rilakkuma mysteriously had appeared there. He started eating her senbei. Nobody knows where he came from or why he came to her house. An apartment in Tokyo is very small! It’s easy to understand the situation if you can imagine an apartment house in Tokyo. Most single office workers live by themselves. When I lived in Tokyo, my apartment was only 20 square meters, including the bathroom and kitchen. That’s about 200 square feet. It’s very small for two people! I think Kaoru’s apartment is almost the same as mine.
Who is Kaoru?
Kaoru is an office worker in Tokyo. She is the owner of Kiiroitori which means “yellow bird” in Japanese. Before Rilakkuma came to her house, she was tired every day because of her job. So when she returned home, she immediately went to bed. But after he came to her house, her life has changed. Now there are moments with a little humor and lots of little annoyances in her life. She became good at cooking omurice because Rilakkuma requests her to cook that often.
Every time she appears in Rilakkuma’s book, her face is represented by a shadow, so we don’t know what she looks like.
Rilakkuma’s Favorite Foods
Rilakkuma is often seen eating his favorite foods. His favorite foods are pancakes, omurice, custard pudding, and dango.
- Pancakes. There are many varieties of pancakes, but he usually eats many layer
pancakes with honey. His favorite pancake mix brand is kuma kuma hotcake. Kuma means bear in Japanese!
- Omurice. He likes soft cooked omurice with a lot of ketchup. It is a typical food for children.
- Custard pudding. Rilakkuma loves desserts and sweet things, and his favorite dessert is custard pudding.
- Dango. Dango is a Japanese sweet made from rice flour. There are many kinds of dango in Japan, but he usually eats white dango. Maybe they have bean paste inside. It is a typical traditional dessert.
Rilakkuma’s Hobbies and Favorite Things
- Watching television. He watches television to get more information about foods and snacks, and he enjoys watching his own DVD about hot springs many times.
- Listening to music. He uses his music player to listen music. We don’t know what he is listening to, but he is very happy listening to music while eating snacks.
- Soaking in hot springs. There are no hot springs in Kaoru’s house, but she does have a bathroom. He likes to take a bath with his friends. He is so relaxed when he takes a bath. Usually there are bathtubs in Japanese apartments even if the room is small. Taking a bath represents relaxing. Many Japanese people like to take a bath when they are tired.
- Living a lazy life. He doesn’t like to work. He always lies sprawled on Kaoru’s yellow bean bag pillow.
Rilakkuma’s Messy Room
Rilakkuma is too lazy to throw away things in the trash, so Kaoru’s room is always messed up.
Rilakkuma has many stuffed bear suits, and it is implied that his entire lower body is a costume. Nobody knows what Rilakkuma looks like underneath his costume. He buys his suits through mail order and will replace his suit when it gets old or dirty. Sometimes he washes his suits by himself. He has other suits like a rabbit suit and a sheep suit! Nobody knows if his head is part of his costume.
Rilakkuma is often seen with two of his friends: Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori.
Kiiroitori named him Korilakkuma because he looks like a small Rilakkuma. Ko means small or little in Japanese. He also mysteriously appeared at Kaoru’s house. Rilakkuma didn’t know him at the time. He also isn’t a real bear because he has a red button on his chest. He is full of vigor and very mischievous. Find out more about Korilakkuma!
Kiiroitori is the yellow bird who lives at Kaoru’s house. Kiiroitori means “yellow bird” in Japanese. He used to be in a birdcage but now he can come out at his own discretion and scold Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma because Rilakkuma is too lazy and Korilakkuma is too mischievous. Sometimes he feels down because he thinks he scolds them too much. Find out more about Kiiroitori!