It was a few years ago when I first saw him and I didn’t think much of it at the time. He was just a “thing” that sort of looked like fuzzy brown box with big sharp pointy teeth and little black eyes. I laughed when I saw it. What a quirky looking thing, I thought. But then I started noticing him more, showing up in unexpected places, watching me. I would see him on websites or as an AIM or forum avatar peering out at me from the cold mathematical digital space of the interweb. Eventually, he was hiding in places like my local comic shop as a cleverly disguised “doll” seemingly harmless, trapped behind clear plastic packaging. To the average consumer he was just another toy, but I knew what was happening. It was invading our culture. It was only a matter of time. Soon he became the “mascot” of Halloween for Target and then not long after that started selling slurpees at 7-11. Billboards of him holding “Domo-sized” drink cups started going up everywhere, putting us all under the gaze of those dark beady eyes. He’s watching us all now. We must be careful what we say, because we don’t know where he will pop up next, but it is important you know the history of this… Domo-kun
Domo was created in 1998 by illustrator and director Tsuneo Goda for the NHK. For those of you that don’t know, NHK stands for Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, which in English is The Japan Broadcasting Corporation. It’s essentially the Japan’s version of the BBC and Domo was created to be their mascot. His first appearances were in little 30 second shorts that aired during television programs as a means of station identification. Soon people began to take notice of this odd brown creature. What is it supposed to be? A monster? A wookiee? A golgothan? No one knew for sure, but here is what we do know…
One day the creature known as Domo hatched from an egg that fell into the home of an old rabbit by the name of Usajii. Usajii loved television, and soon Domo did too. Domo found that TV made him happy and started watching it all the time. In fact, TV is where Domo got his name. As Usajii turned on the television, an announcer said “Domo Konnichiwa,” which is basic greeting meaning along the lines of “Well, hello there.” The phrase can also be understood to mean “Hello Domo” making it a pun, and thus giving Domo his name. Another thing we know about Domo is he cannot speak. He can only grunt a weird noise that sounds a bit like his name. Domo also must have a terribly nervous stomach because everytime he gets panicky he breaks wind.
Quickly, Domo used his sweet demeanor and cuteness (??) to begin taking over Japan. He was everywhere. Domo-kun lunchboxes, manga, and t-shirts. Plushies, cell phone straps, action figures, clocks, DVDs, nothing was safe from the Domo invasion. The Japanese people eagerly accepted the creature, and to this day I’m not entirely sure if they know what they have unleashed. Once he had finished with Japan, Domo discovered he wasn’t satisfied, and those little eyes turned east and peered across the international date line to the US…
He snuck across our borders in an ingenious viral plan, using the mega popular site fark.com as his launch pad. All it took was one simple comedic PSA with a catchy slogan.
Of course, the internet geeks went wild, devouring all the information they could on the “things” chasing the kitten. Soon Domo merchandise was being imported. Then large corporations started taking notice and began licensing him to sell their merchandise. Funny TV commercials started to air, making us chuckle to throw us off our guard till now finally the billboards go up… He has us now. Domo made it into the US, and it was so simple. We held the door wide open for him and welcomed him with open arms.
Now there is nothing we can do, soon he will be so thoroughly entrenched into your culture we wouldn’t be able to able to pry him off with a crowbar. You say “What’s the big deal? He’s just a cute little.. thing.” Yeah?
See? Now you’re scared aren’t you? Domo is Doom with a misplaced o.
* DC in no way thinks Domo is here to overthrow society. In fact, he thinks Domo is kinda cool.
** Or could it be that Domo got to him already and this whole article was another plot point in forwarding Domo’s sinister agenda?
*** Find out more about Domo here http://www.domonation.com/