First up on the list is the very first “shojo” series – manga that is aimed at the female target demographic – that became successful in the west, mainly due of its tone of “warrior of love and justice” as well as its iconic sailor uniforms that the characters wear.
Next on the list is the ever-popular, humongous lizard Godzilla. The unfriendly dinosaur has become a big part of Japan’s popular culture ever since its film debut in 1954.
Japaneze netizens voted Gundam as the #8 iconic character in Japan. It has become one of the most popular robot – or in this case, mecha – in Japan with several dozen series published in manga form, anime and movies. Fans all over the world also follow and collect the model kits to assemble their very own mecha.
While Studio Ghibli’s “My Neighbor Totoro” is not the company’s first ever movie, it’s one of the most beloved, earning a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its title character, Totoro, a mysterious and rather eccentric forest creature, is just too adorable and cuddly to miss with its large pear-shaped body.
It’s about time Goku, the most powerful Saiyan in the whole universe – who is now on God-level – shows up on this list. However, it’s surprising that he didn’t rank higher considering that “Dragon Ball” has been on and off TV since its first airing in 1986.
5. Hello Kitty
The adorable cat, Hello Kitty, is one of the most popular brands in the world. Hello Kitty, or Kitty-chan as what they call her in Japan, is an anthropomorphic white Japanese bobtail cat dressed in different outfits – depending on the occasion – with a red ribbon on top of her head. She’s so popular that in 2008, Hello Kitty became a tourism ambassador in China and Hong Kong.
Anpanman, the main lead of the popular Japanese picture book of the same title, is incredibly popular among children in Japan. It was first released in 1973 and continued to be published in both book and anime form for 40 years until its author and creator, Takashi Yanase, died in 2013.
3. Super Mario
Who could forget the most famous former plumber in the world, right? Mario takes the third spot as the iconic characters from the country that best represent Japan. He’s headed many memorable video game titles across countless consoles and has dominated the popular culture for more than 30 years.
The list of iconic Japanese pop culture characters wouldn’t exactly be complete without the extremely popular Pikachu of “Pokemon”. It’s surprising to see Pikachu in second place, considering that he’s actually quite popular internationally.
Doraemon is not just huge in Japan, but the robotic cat from the future is also widely popular in whole of Asia. He was dubbed by Japan’s Foreign Ministry as “anime ambassador,” SoraNews24 reported.
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