Sumikko Gurashi is an adorable character line by San-X, the masters of kawaii, featuring cute little critters who like to stay huddled up in a corner.
“Sumikko” means corner, and “Gurashi” means life, or way of living. Sumikko Gurashi translates literally to “living in a corner.” “Sumikko” also contains a play on words, as the word “ko” can mean “child” or “little one.” That’s why the Sumikko Gurashi characters are also sometimes referred to as Sumikko’s, or little ones who like to be in corners and out-of-the-way spaces.
If you ride the train, you try fill up the corner seats first. If you’re at a cafe, you try to secure the most out-of-the-way seat possible… Do you ever feel that, for some reason, being in a corner makes you feel more comfortable, relaxed, or calm?
Shirokuma is a polar bear who gets cold easily, Penguin? is a penguin with a lack of confidence, Tonkatsu is a piece of fried pork cutlet who was left over, and Neko is a very shy cat. There are tons of “Sumikko” who can be just a little bit negative about life sometimes, but are full of personality.
If you like to be in the corner or prefer out-of-the-way spots, how would you like to join in and become friends with the Sumikko gang, too?
A shy polar bear who doesn’t deal well with cold weather and ran away from the North Pole. Feels most comfortable when drinking a cup of hot tea in a corner.
Penguin? Am I penguin? I’m not sure. I feel like I used to have a plate on my head… (*This is a reference to the yokai demon in Japanese folklore known as a “kappa.” Kappa are yokai demons or imps that look somewhat like a turtle with a bird’s beak and a flat area on the top of its head known as a “sara,” or plate. Penguin? is unconfident about whether he is a penguin or a kappa.)
Favorite Food: Cucumber Hobbies: Reading and listening to music Enemy: The clasps of a crane game machine (Penguin? is often the one who gets picked up in crane games.)
Tonkatsu The piece on the very edge of a fried pork cutlet. Consists of 1% meat and 99% oil. Was left over and not eaten because he was too oily and greasy…
Interesting facts: ・Tonkatsu’s pink part is the 1% meat. ・Tonkatsu is often found staring blankly into space. ・Tonkatsu can sometimes be found in a dark, gloomy mood when he recalls the trauma of his past.
Tonkatsu appeal! Tonkatsu tries to get people to eat him by: ・Drenching himself in sauce. ・Plopping a dollop of mustard on his head. ・Climbing into a take-out box.
Neko A shy, timid, and faint-hearted cat. Often surrenders into a corner. Sensitive about his body shape.
Personality: Modest and humble (always worried about causing problems for those around him) Favorite Food: Canned cat food, cat grass
Tokage Is actually one of the last remaining dinosaurs, but is afraid of being captured, and so pretends to be a lizard. The only one he’s opened up to is Nisetsumuri.
Favorite Food: Fish Talents: Swimming
Furoshiki A piece of cloth tied into a little bundle to wrap up Shirokuma’s belongings. Can be used for various purposes: to carry things, as a blanket when it’s cold, as a placeholder to secure corner spots, as a cushion, or as a picnic blanket.
Zassou A weed with a positive outlook and a dream to become part of a beautiful bouquet in a flower shop one day.
Interesting facts: ・Zassou never gives up on his dreams. ・Zassou has a very social personality. ・Zassou’s little feet are actually roots, and he absorbs liquid from his feet. ・Zassou is good friends with Neko, and Neko often waters him. ・When Neko is sleepy, he sometimes mistakes Zassou for cat grass and chews on him.
Ebi Fry no Shippo The tail of a piece of fried shrimp who was left over and not eaten because he was too hard. He and Tonkatsu are friends who get each other.
Ebi Fry appeal! Ebi Fry tries to get people to eat him by: ・Climbing into a take-out box. ・Coupling himself with a cherry tomato. ・Covering himself in a blanket of tartar sauce.
Tapioca Tapioca who were left over at the bottom of the cup of milk tea because they were hard to slurp up. Uncooperative, cold, and grudging little fellows.
Interesting facts: ・Tapioca are expressionless. ・Tapioca are squishy. ・Tapioca like to doodle. ・Tapioca like to imitate other things, such as oranges. ・There are many of them.
Black Tapioca Even more uncooperative, cold, and grudging than your average tapioca.
Hokori Little balls of dust that gather in the corner. Happy but airheaded little guys.
Interesting facts: ・Hokori are able to split up into smaller balls of dust, or bunch up to form larger balls of dust. ・When Hokori go outside, they are blown about by the wind. ・Horoki are always seen with smiling thoughtlessly. ・Hokori are weak against water. ・The dustbin might just be their favorite spot.
Suzume Your average sparrow. Has an interest in Tonkatsu and tends to peck at him.
Interesting facts: ・Suzume likes to fly and walk all over the place. ・Suzume seems to be curious about what it inside of Furoshiki. ・Suzume can’t help but peck at Tonkatsu’s bread crumb coating.
Nisetsumuri Not actually a snail, but a slug carrying an empty shell on his back. He’s really sorry for deceiving everyone…
Interesting facts: ・Nisetsumuri crawls freely on walls and the corners of the ceiling. ・Nisetsumuri is always apologizing. ・Nisetsumuri is often seen with things other than his shell on his back, such as backpacks, mini-houses, and even Furoshiki or Tapioca. ・Nesetsumuri is good friends with Tokage.
Obake A ghost who lives in the corner of the attic. Acts sneakily because he doesn’t want people to be scared by him. Enjoys cleaning and tidying.
Interesting facts: ・Obake likes comedy, but when he opens his mouth to laugh, his fangs show and people get scared of him, so he tries to keep his mouth closed most of the time. ・Obake likes cleaning, so if your attic is clean, he might just be in your attic.
Yama A small mountain who looks up to Mount Fuji as his role model. He likes to stand on a ladder and peek out from behind fences at hot springs and pretend to be Mount Fuji.
Interesting facts: ・Yama turns red when he sits inside a hot spring. ・Sometimes the other Sumikko, such as Zassou and Tapioca, like to climb him.
Mogura A mole who used to live in a corner underground. One day it was very noisy on the surface, and to see what all the fuss was about he came out from underground for the first time in his life. Often seen wearing his favorite red boots.
Interesting facts: ・Mogura was very nervous the first time he popped his head out from underground, but that’s when he noticed the pair of red boots placed beside his hole, and they soon became his favorite footwear. ・Mogura bears a deep interest in the Sumikko he met the first time he popped his head out from underground. ・Mogura often imitates other Sumikko, eating cucumbers like Penguin? and scratching the wall like Neko.