Monday, January 9, 2012

No, Miffy is not Japanese.

If you have kids, you'll probably recognize this cute rabbit character made popular through a well--known children's book series from the 50's. Her "English name" is Miffy, but according to casual conversation, it seems like a lot of people think that this little rabbit is from Japan. Perhaps it's the simplistic yet very cutesy illustration style similar to the likes of Hello Kitty, one of the icons of Japanese cute culture. And maybe a bit of Japan's talent for importing and then re-exporting cute character merchandise.

Whatever the reason, I wanted to clear up this popular fallacy and bring credit back to where credit is due. Miffy's real name is not Miffy at all, but "Nijntje"[ˈnɛɪ̯ncə]- just don't ask me to try and say that name out loud. Nijntje is the creation of Dutch artist and illustrator Dick Bruna. Having lived in the Netherlands for nearly 4 years, I've found that the Dutch don't have a whole lot of claims to fame. So here's another one to add to the list! You can still visit the "Dick Bruna's house", permanently on display at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Holland to see a selection of original Miffy items.

1 comment:

savoie said...

I always thought Miffy was Japanese too until I moved here! I love Nijntje. Next up tell us all about Jip en Janneke!