Mobile charms have decorated phones since the 1990s. In Japan and many Asian countries, it has become a cultural phenomenon. In the 1960s and 1970s, peach patches were worn by hippies, music buttons of the 80s, or key straps of the 90s. However, many of these sweet little charms are more than just accessories. Many western people don’t know that it has roots in Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture that is beyond fashion statement pieces.
Stay seated to learn more about the origin of cell phone charms and beyond!
Japanese Cell Phone Charms:
It won’t be wrong to consider Japan as the phone charms capital. Japan is highly evolved and has a unique charms culture that predates Western phones for a long. In Japanese culture, mobile charms have become an integral part of Kawaii fashion since 1990. It is a way to portray individual personality.
Charms are of many kinds and are available all around the world some characters are virtually known outside Japan is meaningful in Japan.
Hello Kitty: Hello Kitty is the most beloved character in the phone world. A cute cat that was developed by Sanrio in the 1990s, it is the most famous cute cat in the world since 1974. It gained so much popularity across the globe that she became a celebrity.
You will see Hello Kitty in different parts of the country and souvenir charms known as Gotochi Kitty. These are highly collectible by Japanese visitors. There are many variations to it. Like Gotochi Kitty winter-themed by Hokkaido depicts wintertime. Hello, Kitty has a huge fanbase. She is an official mascot in mainland China and Hong Kong as she is so cute that people fall in love with her.
Tare Panda: One of the earliest phone charms is Tare Panda. The lazy Tare Panda gained popularity in Japan and had goods of 30 billion yen nationwide. In 1997, Tare Panda was seen as a symbol of the financial crisis and remains in vogue.
Doraemon: Doraemon manga is a classic of Japanese culture since 45 years ago among kids and adults alike.
Docomodake: The giant mushroom is the mascot of Japan’s largest cellphone network and is seen on most smartphones.
Rilakumma: Also known as the relaxing bear debuted in 2003 in Japan and quickly gained attention. It sold like hotcakes in the merchandise shops and became a strong character in Kawaii culture.
The Totoro: ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ was released by Hayao Miyazaki in 1988. The movie gained a great deal of attention in Japan, and soon people began purchasing Totoro charms. These charms were seen hanging countless times on young girls’ mobile phones Cases.
Maneki Neko: Maneki Neko is considered a lucky charm for a century. It is instantly recognizable were a cat held her paw up in the air. It is still popular and can be found in many stores in Japan.
Kewpie Dolls: Kewpie dolls or charms are an artistic phenomenon. It is available in various patterns including adult varieties and grotesque stores.
Among other popular phone charms in Japan, there are InuYasha and Anpanman, Space Invaders aliens, and many more. Phone charms are not just for decoration but also serve as functional objects like pill cases, speakers, perfume sprayers, candy holders, and loose change. Some even flash when the phone rings while other means of detecting aliens are also available.
Further, keitai bands or charms are a trend among youth. They hang on girls’ phones, as well as business phones. Famous brands like Gucci sell these straps at hefty prices.
Korean Phone Charms:
After Japan, one more country is considered to be the capital of phone charms i.e. South Korea. In Korea, the mobile phone charms mania has been equal to Japan for a decade. This mania is parallel to the K-wave of Korean pop culture.
Manhwa (Korean mango) and other anime characters can be seen in the online/ offline stores of South Korea. You get teddy charms and hearts with unique Konglish (Korean English).
One of the most famous anime characters of Korea is Pucca. Pucca phone charms are consistent and in merchandise for many years and took off in 2004. After the KBS drama Winter Sonata, a star-shaped phone charm adorns the market. It can be seen in winter dolls and jewelry shops. Later a pig rabbit from the SBS series You’re Beautiful gained popularity at home and abroad.
Another charm that was the couple’s favorite was love and together animals kissing. These were part of the couple’s culture in Korea. And, yes! Hello, Kitty is also a part of Korean culture.
Chinese Phone Charms:
In mainland China, all the above Korean and Japanese phone charms are popular. However, few are in the house:
Pobaby: Pobaby series is one of the most successful personalities in China featuring the Hijinks of a young boy and girl. These are favored amongst couples.
The QQ Penguins: The male and female penguins mascot in instant messenger world. The Tencent QQ instant messaging services have their line of merchandise. It is available in single or penguins pair.
Ali Fox: Ali’s Dream Castle and Ali’s Dream Island have the main character known as Ali Fox is prevalent in mainland China. It portrays the friendship’s ups and downs.
Additionally, traditional protective charms, amulets, and pendants are also pop culture. A category known as cicada charms symbolizes immortality and rebirth, which are detrimental to Feng Shui beliefs. The Jade Cicada was placed in the tongues of the deceased before burial, and cicadas are considered a gift of longevity in Feng Shui belief. Many people wore cicada belts and accessories. Therefore people have started liking the jade cicada wooden carved charms.
Western Phone Charms:
In the 2000’s cell phone charms were a revolutionary product in US and UK. Characters like butterflies, fruits, crowns, Winnie the Pooh, and Tweety Bird started to appear on phones. Moreover, Hello Kitty was loved by westerners. However, the trend was swept away, but it has gained popularity again recently. Celebrities have started adorning these charms on Instagram and Twitter.
Phone charms are popular amongst westerners and Asians. This article covers everything you need to know about the legend behind phone charms in Japan. It represents culture and personality. I hope you enjoyed reading this piece.