Art, Cats in Comics, Comics, Japanning September 10, 2011

In this proposed series I shall be featuring mini-profiles of cartoon cat characters I have enjoyed following in comics including a few of my own creation.

Cover of Doraemon manga issue 1.

First up is Doraemon, the creation of Fujio Fujiki, the alias of two creators (mangaka) Motoo Akibo and Hiroshi Fujimoto, working in collaboration. Doraemon is a blue, earless, male, magical, back from the future, robot cat that lost his ears to a hungry rat. And like most cats he is very good to his owner, the little boy Nobita. This cat has been designed in a seriously super-deformed style with a large round head that takes up practically half its body length. First published in Japan in 1970 it has been so successful it was developed into an animation series and franchise with an accompanying massive amount of merchandise including postage stamps. Doraemon has the distinction of being the first Anime Ambassador of Japan. Most recently a museum of Doraemon has opened in Kawasaki. This cat is more than 40 years old although, as it is a cat that is back from the future, it has not yet been born, his birthday being just over a century away on 3rd September 2112. His popularity goes on and on, and taking a lead from the guitar I saw in a music shop in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, near Meiji University, I say “Rock on Doraemon!”

Doraemon guitar in Tokyo music shop. (Photo by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

UPDATE 3 SEP 2112: On September 3rd 2012 Doraemon received an official residency certificate from Kawasaki city-100 years before his birth on September 3rd 2112.

Doraemon’s official residency certificate.

Doraemon on rails!

UPDATE 21 NOV 2016: On a trip to Tokyo last month I found these two sets of Doraemon stamps on sale at a Japan Post shop:

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

and an old copy of the Doraemon magazine at a bookshop in Jimbocho:

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

and a toy figure in a food shop in Kappabashi:

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

UPDATE 19 APR 2017: On a trip to New York last month I found this Doraemon doll made up as Captain America in a shop window in Chinatown, along with a group of smaller Doraemons and a large Japanese neko.

Doraeman as Cap, Chinatown, New York. (Photo-© 2017 Michael Hill)

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat


Creator and former Director of the Master of Animation course at the University of Technology, Sydney, Dr. Michael Hill has a Master's degree in animation and a PhD in comics studies, prompting his introduction on ABC Radio as “Doctor Comics”. A member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Comic Art, and former member of the Comics Grid Journal of Comics Scholarship and the Advisory Committee of the Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project, he has delivered public lectures on Comics, Anime and Manga and held academic directorships in Interdisciplinary Studies, Animation, Design and Visual Communication. Having donated his collection of research materials on Australian alternative comics to the National Library of Australia he is now active in the artistic domain, writing, drawing and printmaking, creating art postcards and prints and his own graphic novel Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics.

Comments 3

  1. ragingyoghurt says on September 12, 2011

    oh doraemon! when i was growing up in malaysia and singapore he was known by his chinese name: xiao ding dang, and i was really more familiar with him as the packaging mascot for a brand of spherical puffed rice crackers coated in compound chocolate. the crackers were always stale. yum.

    do you know komaneko?

  2. Doctor Comics says on September 13, 2011

    Name changes! I know Mickey Mouse was known as Topolino in Italy. Xiao ding dang eh? That one’s had an interesting cultural and phonetic shift. Glad you enjoyed the crackers. Why were they stale? Were they imported from Japan or was the character licensed to another country’s brand?
    Thanks for introducing me to Komaneko. I was impressed by the slow moving tempo and subdued soundtrack. Don’t often experience that in childrens animation. There were some nice touches there like when the cat’s eyes widen at the sight of having threaded the needle. Very careful and controlled animation.

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