Why Japan is banking on selling sadness disguised as kawaii

In a world where we’re all pretending to appear happy on the internet, Japan is banking on selling sadness.

The latest craze is Gudetama, an anthropomorphic egg who’s lazy, depressed, and an all-around Negative Nancy. It doesn’t like to move around much, or be bothered. It’s tired of its existence. When it realizes it’s about to get cracked open, sliced up, or cooked, it accepts its fate with a deep sigh. And yet it’s beloved by Japan as the new mascot for offbeat cuteness.

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The character comes from Sanrio, the creator of Hello Kitty, and it’s one of several digital characters from Japan that disguises sadness in a form of adorable. In an upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon game, we’re introduced to a new Pokémon named Mimikyu, who’s described as “dreadfully lonely,” and dresses itself as Pikachu to gain any hope of being loved.

Mimikyu in its Pikachu disguise