Our Japanese friends like fluffy hamster butts and they cannot lie. And I, having kept a few of these cute critters myself during my younger years, cannot deny how insanely cute and amusing they can get. But as we all know, when our friends from The Land of the Rising Sun fall in love with something, it becomes a pretty big deal. In fact, their fascination with fluffy derrières became a viral social media phenomenon called Hamuketsu in 2013.
The term ‘Hamuketsu‘ derives from a mashup of two Japanese terms. Hamu translates to hamster. Ketsu, on the other hand, is the term used for bums. Are we really surprised that this became a craze in Japan? Not really. The country does, after all, have a reputation for having strange, fascinating and unique subcultures and trends.
“When life is hard, you can look at the hamster ass.”
Japan loves hamsters
In fact, Japan’s adoration for these fluffy domestic rodents runs deep. There are two wildly popular anime shows that have hamsters as their titular characters. In 1997, the Hamtaro series aired. Then in 1999, Oruchuban Ebichu debuted for more grown up audiences. The two hamster-centric shows may have differed greatly in themes, but both were hits in the country. Impressively, by 2002, Hamtaro had become so popular that it generated more than $2.5 Billion in merchandise sales alone. I personally credit Hamtaro for making me beg my parents to let me have pet hamsters.
“I think there is certainly a healing effect”
Publishers scrambled to release photo books
Shortly after the Hamuketsu trend blew up, publishers quickly rose to the challenge of satisfying the public’s demand for more fluffy cuteness. One of the publishers that rode the Hamuketsu wave was Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc., which released a series of photo books dedicated to hamster butts. According to the company, over 40,000 copies of the first two photo books were sold upon release. Furthermore, they noted that male hamsters proved to be more popular with Hamuketsu lovers, since they had bigger and rounder backsides than their female counterparts.
On the other hand, Basilico Co. also put out 15,000 copies of their 96-page book titled ‘Hamuketsu’. Takeshi Takahashi, Basilico’s spokesman admitted that he couldn’t help himself from staring at his company’s book. “The great thing about Hamuketsu is that it is delightfully cute. I can’t stop smiling when I see these butts,” he said. The publishing company loved the trend so much that they set up a Facebook page for it.
“I wanna poke it”
“Fluffy little hamsterbutt”
Hamuketsu celebrates the adorable backsides of hamsters
This trend only proves how much of a powerhouse Japan has become when it comes to all things kawaii. According to Miss Minami, part of the reason why the Hamuketsu craze really shot to such heights is because people felt “soothed” when viewing the fluffy, plump posteriors of hamsters. Well, we’ll let you be the judge of that. Their fluffy little behinds weren’t made to be ignored – go ahead and scroll some more!
“‘If you go vote, I’ll send you a hamster butt photo!’ – It worked.”
The booty-ful trend launched thousands of photo books
“Hamster bums are the boopiest”
Can’t get enough of the cuteness? Grab a Hamuketsu photo book here.