Rilakkuma is a kigurumi, a stuffed animal suit bear. There is a zipper on his back. The contents are unknown.
One day, he suddenly appeared at Kaoru’s apartment 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. He thinks about meals and snacks every day. He doesn’t like summer time because his suit gets too hot!
Who is Kaoru?
Kaoru is an office worker in Tokyo. She is the owner of Kiiroitori (yellow bird in Japanese). At first, she was tired every day because of her job. So when she returned home, she immediately went to bed before Rilakkuma came to her house. But after he came to her house, her life has changed. Now there are moments with a little humor and lots of annoyances in her life. She became good at cooking omurice because Rilakkuma requests her to cook that often.
Everytime she appears in Rilakkuma’s book, her face is represented by a shadow. We don’t know what she looks like.
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.
Actually, it doesn’t mention whether Korilakkuma is a girl or boy in the books. Subjects like “he” or “she” are not so important in Japanese. Oftentimes, we will make sentence without using a subject. So we can’t know for sure whether Korilakkuma is a girl or boy through sentences. But in English, Korilakkuma is called “she” in most of the English introductions of Korilakkuma. Many people recognize Korilakkuma as a girl, but I think Korilakkuma is a boy even if he wears pink clothes.
Reasons why I think Korilakkuma is a boy include:
- His favorite toy is a radio controlled duck. Usually boys tend to like playing with radio controlled toys.
- When he appeared, Rilakkuma asked him, “Kimi wa dokono kuma kun?” (きみはどこのくまくん？) or “Where are you from?” The important part is the last word “kun”. “Kun” is a Japanese honorific which is attached to person’s names. And “kun” is used for boys usually. We never use kun for little girls.
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.