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「為什麼蛋黃哥的軟爛生活學這麼對現代人的味?」- How a Melancholy Egg Yolk Conquered Japan


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This is Gudetama. It's an egg yolk with a little butt crack. Gudetama looks like a character someone gave up on—it has limbs but no fingers or toes; it has a mouth but no teeth. And yet, people can't get enough of it. You can find it on backpacks, cups, airplanes, credit cards, and it even has its own theme cafe. But Gudetama's cute looks aren't the driving force behind its insane popularity. Its main attraction is its lazy personality.
這是蛋黃哥。它是一顆有一條小股溝的蛋黃。蛋黃哥看起來像一個被人放棄的角色--它有四肢但沒有手指或腳趾;它有嘴巴但沒有牙齒。然而,人們有再多蛋黃哥都不嫌多。你可以在背包、杯子、飛機、信用卡上看到它的身影,它甚至還有自己的主題咖啡廳。不過蛋黃哥的可愛外貌並不是它爆紅的主要因素。它主要吸引人的地方是它軟爛的個性。 

"Can I go home now?"
「我現在能回家了嗎?」

"You're the star of the show..."
「你是節目的主角耶...」

Gudetama comes from a Japanese company called Sanrio. You might have heard of them. They're the creators behind Hello Kitty. In 2013, Sanrio held a company-wide competition to come up with a food-based character. And once people voted, Gudetama didn't end up on top.
蛋黃哥出自一家叫三麗鷗的日本公司。你可能聽過他們。他們是 Hello Kitty 背後的創造者。2013 年,三麗鷗舉辦了一場全公司的競賽來構思出以食物為主的角色。而人們投了票,蛋黃哥最後並未得到第一名。

Kirimichan, the salmon fillet, came in first. We actually started to release products based on the salmon fillet and its friends. Gudetama, the lazy egg, came in second, but we also released products based on Gudetama, and it really, really took off.
鮭魚君,一塊鮭魚排,獲得首獎。我們真的開始發行以這塊鮭魚排和它的朋友為主的產品。蛋黃哥,一顆懶散的蛋,得到第二名,不過我們也發行了以蛋黃哥為主的產品,而它真的大受歡迎。

The appeal of Gudetama's melancholy stands in contrast to the American concept of cuteness, which is pretty straightforward. The idea of cute represents goodness and optimism, while pessimism tends to define evil. This is evident in some of Disney's early films.
蛋黃哥的鬱悶吸引力和美國對可愛的看法十分不同,美國的可愛還滿淺顯易懂的。可愛這概念就代表良善和樂觀,而悲觀往往是邪惡的特性。這在一些迪士尼早期的電影中顯而易見。

As you can see, there is a clear divide between good and evil. Villains are usually depicted as unappealing, scary, and old—draped in shadows and dark colors. They're meant to be identified as evil, which means that they can never be cute. But in Japan, there's more of a gray area to this. The word "kawaii" is widely used to describe the quality of being like a child, which means that you can be cute and lazy at the same time.
如你所見,好與壞之間有很清楚的分界。壞人通常被描繪成不迷人、可怕而且衰老的--掩蓋在陰影和深色中。他們本該被視為是邪惡的,那也就代表他們永遠不可能可愛。不過在日本,這比較有模糊地帶。「卡哇伊」一詞被廣泛用來形容像孩子一樣的特性,代表你可以同時又可愛又懶散。

Yeah, kawaii is a fascinating idea to me. It's a very vulnerable kind of cute. It's forcing, like... It's you're so cute that you make people wanna take care of you.
嗯,卡哇伊對我來說是個很有趣的概念。那是種很脆弱的可愛。那迫使,像是... 就是你可愛到讓人想來照顧你。

The term emerged in the 1970s and became a big part of Japanese culture. It was shown through fashion, handwriting, and even behavior. And many Japanese artists and academics believed that this popular culture on cuteness happened for a reason.
這個詞在 1970 年代出現,成為日本文化很重要的一部分。可愛被透過時尚、筆跡,甚至是行為表現出來。而許多日本藝術家和學者相信這種可愛流行文化的出現是有原因的。

In Japan, the kawaii culture is often linked to the country's post-World War II years.
在日本,可愛文化常被和國家在二戰後的那些年作連結。

"...a message from the Japanese government. I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration."
「...來自日本政府的一則訊息。我將此回覆視為對波茲坦宣言的全然接受。」

The idea is that because of its trauma and defeat, the country leaned into its vulnerability. And since then, the concept of kawaii has grown and even formed smaller subgroups.
那見解是認為因為日本的的創傷和戰敗,這國家接受了自身的脆弱。而自那時起,卡哇伊這個概念便開始成長,甚至形成了一些較小的次級團體。

This is kimo-kawaii, which is sometimes called "gro-kawaii." And there is yuru-kawaii.
Yuru means relaxed and calm. According to cartooning expert Aya Kakeda, this particular group became popular because of the stress in modern society. She points out that in the U.S., people are drawn to spas and meditation for relaxation, but in Japan, yuru's calm appearance brings comfort to a lot of people.
這是醜萌,有時也被稱作「噁心萌」。還有懶萌。Yuru 的意思是放鬆和平靜。根據卡漫專家懸田阿也表示,這個類別變得受歡迎是因為現代社會的壓力。她指出在美國,人們喜歡用 spa 療程和冥想來放鬆,但在日本,懶萌角色的平和外表療癒了許多人。

You can also see a shift in Sanrio's characters throughout the years. They've started giving them a personality to make them more relatable. When Hello Kitty came out in 1974, she was more traditionally cute than Gudetama, but she remained somewhat emotionless. She doesn't even have a mouth to smile or frown with, and that makes her more of a blank canvas—she can be whatever we want her to be. But many people feel a connection with Gudetama because of its gloomy personality. This approach to cuteness extends beyond appearances. It evokes a reaction. These characters can make you laugh or feel relaxed, and you can relate to them by observing their personality.
你也可以看到三麗鷗的角色在這些年來的變化。他們開始賦予角色個性來讓它們更親切。當 Hello Kitty 在 1974 年問世時,她相較於蛋黃哥是種比較傳統的可愛,不過她有一點沒有感情。她甚至沒有嘴巴來微笑或表示不滿,那使得 Hello Kitty 比較像張空白畫布--她可以變成我們想要的任何樣子。不過很多人因為蛋黃哥憂鬱的個性而感到和它有種連結。這種對可愛的詮釋超越了外表。那激發出一種反應。這些角色能讓你開懷笑或感到放鬆,而你可以透過觀察他們的個性來產生共鳴。

So at a time of confusion and turmoil all around the world, maybe this is just what we need—an egg yolk with a little bum that's just done dealing with life.
所以在一個到處充滿困惑和動盪的時代,或許這就是我們所需要的--一顆有著小屁股的厭世蛋黃。

"Can't see the future."
「看不到未來。」

"Today might be a better day."
「今天或許會是更美好的一天。」

  • 「放棄」- Give Up On

    Gudetama looks like a character someone gave up on—it has limbs but no fingers or toes; it has a mouth but no teeth.
    蛋黃哥看起來像一個被人放棄的角色--它有四肢但沒有手指或腳趾;它有嘴巴但沒有牙齒。

  • 「想出、提出」- Come Up With

    In 2013, Sanrio held a company-wide competition to come up with a food-based character.
    2013 年,三麗鷗舉辦了一場全公司的競賽來構思出以食物為主的角色。

  • 「(比賽)得名次」- Come In

    Gudetama, the lazy egg, came in second, but we also released products based on Gudetama, and it really, really took off.
    蛋黃哥,一顆懶散的蛋,得到第二名,不過我們也發行了以蛋黃哥為主的產品,而它真的大受歡迎。

  • 「走紅、大受歡迎」- Take Off

    Gudetama, the lazy egg, came in second, but we also released products based on Gudetama, and it really, really took off.
    蛋黃哥,一顆懶散的蛋,得到第二名,不過我們也發行了以蛋黃哥為主的產品,而它真的大受歡迎。

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