Crazy for Monchhichi


A history of Monchhichi and little-known tidbits

Most people know that Monchhichi is a cartoon monkey born in 1974, which became popular again in the mid-1990s; few know about its “ancestry”. In fact, while Monchhichi boy and girl were created by Japanese toy company Sekiguchi as a pair of twins 33 years ago, its ancestor Kuta Kuta Monke appeared in 1972. In 1975 several cuddly animals: a bear, a lamb and a bunny – all sucking their thumbs like Monchhichi’s do – joined the team. In 1977, My Chhichi, their twin brother and sister, were born.

The period from 1978-1980 became the golden period for the monkey. For the first time, the Monchhichi family went international: first in Australia, then Germany, England, France, and the United States, each country adding their own favorite elements to the character. In 1979, there were even houses with nice furniture, as well as “Going out with Monchhichi” clothes. Grandpa and Grandma were added to the family in 1980, and the first television anime series was shot.

Monchhichi became quiet in the mid-1980s, but re-emerged in Japan, the U.S. and Germany in 1996. In 2004, the 30th anniversary, the twins were made into a couple and even got married. In the same year Bebichhichi, or baby Monchhichi, appeared. Interestingly, though, they are not Monchhichis’ real babies, but are said to have been brought to them by some huge white birds.

Monchhichi in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Monchhichi Fanclub, set up in 2004, has more than 400 VIP members and an even larger number of basic members. Its president is a young man Vincent Chan, a huge fan who first fell in love with the monkey when, as a primary school kid, he traveled to Japan with his grandmother. As the owner of Sum’s Lounge, the only Monchhichi special store in Hong Kong, Vincent obtained the franchise of Monchhichi products from Sekiguchi in 2004, and was among the ten people Hong Kong to get invited to Japan to attend the wedding of Monchhichi’s in the same year.

According to Koichi Sekiguchi, the creator (i.e. “father”) of Monchhichi, Monchhichi was created to inspire love and respect in children. Why do the Monchhichi’s all suck their fingers? Sekiguchi claims that during the mid to late 1970s, when Japan experienced a boom in its economy, a lot of parents spent so much of their time working that they neglected their children; sucking fingers, then, was actually a sign of boredom resulting from such negligence.

[本日志由 Cheney 于 2010-12-04 11:35 AM 编辑]
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