Say Cheers for Chiikawa!

Say Cheers for Chiikawa!

Say Cheers for Chiikawa!

Meet Chiikawa, the internet sensation that’s taken the kawaii-sphere by storm! Known for its simple but cute design, Chiikawa is a small white (and largely unidentified)  mouse-like character that stars in a series of the same name. Showcasing the quaint lives of small animal cuties, the Chiikawa character series has become a major hit online.

From Twitter, to YouTube, to Line - you can find Chiikawa almost everywhere on the inter-web! Grab a basket of snacks because today we’re going on a quaint little romp around the small and cute world of Chiikawa! 

  • Japanese name: ちいかわ (chi-ee-ka-wah) 
  • Creator: Nagano
  • Number of manga volumes:
  • Number of anime episodes: 138+
  • Fun fact: Chiikawa can’t really talk properly at all! 



Chiikawa is a small white mouse-like creature with a big round face and small round ears. Though it’s known to be timid and shy, Chiikawa is pretty welcoming and hardworking. This cutie is the lead character of the Chiikawa character series created by the Japanese illustrator, Nagano. Charming and quaint, the series has captivated kawaii fanatics all around the world with its quirky animal stories. 



The Chiikawa series made its big debut as a webcomic on Twitter back in 2020. Chiikawa was a huge success!  Right after its first post, the webcomic gained major traction on the social media site, gaining about 1.1 million followers. Everyone on the internet couldn’t help but fall in love with the series’ cute and quirky characters. 


Not long after its Twitter success, Japanese publisher Kodansha decided to collect the comics into five volumes of manga tankobon (independent or standalone books). Then, after that, Chiikawa got its very own anime series from the studio Dogokobo in 2022. Chiikawa’s definitely been making waves in the kawaii-sphere! 



Chiikawa is actually an abbreviation of Kawaii Yatsu. It’s full is name Nanka Chiisakute Kawaii Yatsu ( (なんか小さくてかわいいやつ). In Japanese “nanka” means “something” while “chiisaku/chiisai” means “small.” Next, we have the word “kawaii” which means “cute.” Lastly is “yatsu” which means “something” or “guy.” 


If we put this all together, Nanka Chiisakute Kawaii Yatsu actually means “Something Small & Cute” in English. That makes a lot of sense since Chiikawa is all about cute animal characters living their best lives! 



The Chiikawa series has a lot of animal characters, but its lead star is Chiikawa, a sweet and kind creature who tends to cry a lot. We’re not quite sure though what kind of animal Chiikawa actually is. Nagano-sensei doesn’t really make clear on that. However, a lot of readers guess that this small white cuite might actually be a mouse! 



Well, since Nagano didn’t really confirm what kind of animal Chiikawa is, it’s also possible that it might be a hamster. After all, Chiikawa does have the same curved ears as one. Honestly though, it’s anyone’s guess at this point! What matters is that Chiikawa is a cutie that makes you reflect on your own life. 



In the manga, Chiikawa starts as a coward who lives in a house that was won through a lottery. This kind but fearful little cutie tends to cry easily. In time though, readers can see the scaredy-mouse-slash-hamster growing little by little after going through lots of experiences with its friends, Hachiware and Usagi. 



Besides the fact that it has a super cute design, the series is loved by kawaii fans all around the world because they can relate to the struggles of Chiikawa and its friends. The stories showcased in the Chiikawa webcomic, manga, and anime are all pretty heartwarming and relatable! 


The characters of Chiikawa go on adventures, play guitar, eat ramen, fight over food, and get into all sorts of wacky hijinks. They have a unique kind of humor that helps viewers unwind. It also really helps that Chiikawa and its friends have super expressive faces that fans love. 



While the Dogokobo adaptation of Chiikawa officially aired on FujiTV, it’s not that difficult to find the Chiikawa anime series online. All the episodes are listed on Chiikawa’s official website so you can read more about them. Some of the episodes are posted on YouTube so fans can watch them for free. Netflix subscribers on the other hand can actually find all of the first season episodes on the streaming site! 



Anime fans are pretty used to popular shows getting lots and lots of episodes, and Chiikawa is no different! Due to public demand, Chiikawa’s been able to get more than 138 episodes from Fuji TV. The series is still running, so there’s going to be even more episodes in the future. Chiikawa fans really have it good, don't they? 



Chiikawa, Hachiware, and Usagi might be the three most recognizable Chiikawa characters, but the series has more cute little faces to offer. The series has twelve different cuties and today we’re going to get to know them properly one by one. Let’s go! 


Chiikawa  (ちいかわ) 

The star of the series, Chiikawa is a bit of a crybaby. It can’t really talk only speaking in monosyllabic phrases like “wa” and “huh” or “ugh.” Though Chiikawa started out as a timid little creature, it gradually became stronger after gaining experience with friends. This cutie has a knack at winning raffles. Not only has Chiikawa won fun items like sukiyaki sets and cookies, but it also won its house in a Muchuama yogurt contest! 


Hachiware (ハチワレ

Hachiware is a cheerful, curious, and communicative little cat boy. He is the only one among the lead characters of Chiikawa who can actually speak the human language fluently (though he occasionally mispronounces words). An active little cat who’s successfully passed the 5th grade of the Pulling Weeds Test, Hachiware wields a blue wand when battling monsters. He wants to get stronger so he trains under Rakko. 


Usagi (うさぎ) 

One of Chiikawa’s other closest friends, Usagi is energetic and carefree. This rabbit is full of mischief! A lot of the time his antics get him into trouble. Despite his troublesome nature, Usagi stands by Chiikawa and Hachiware. Like Chiikawa, Usagi doesn’t speak, communicating only in peculiar sounds like “lulu lulu,” “yaha,” “ulalalalala,” and “huh.” 


Momonga (モモンガ)

This squirrel-like creature is one of the most childlike characters in the Chiikawa series. It’s self-indulgent, brazen, and arrogant. Despite all of that, Momonga has always wanted to be cute and it frequently tries its best to show off its adorable side.  This squirrel lives mainly on white rice from the “infinite white rice spring” that it discovered itself. 


Kuri-Manjū (くりまんじゅう)

According to fans, Kuri-Manju looks a lot like a mix between the Japanese “chestnut bun” and a honey badger. Though this character might seem pretty cute when it stays silent, it actually acts a lot like a middle-aged Japanese man. Kuri-manju is often seen drinking alcohol or eating snacks. It’s a little bit intimidating, however, Kuri-manju also has a kind side. Sometimes it eats together with Chiikawa and treats them to coffee. 


Rakko (ラッコ)

Like Hachiware, Rakko can speak fluently and communicate well with others. This brave otter usually acts alone when going on missions. A skilled professional who handles high-risk tasks, Rakko mainly hunts monsters and “subjugation work.”  A lot of the other Chiikawa characters admire it for its bravery. Kind and reliable, Rakko takes care of others by giving advice and sharing meals. It loves very sweet food! 


Shisa (シーサー)

Based on Okinawa’s guardian deity the Shisa, this character made its first appearance in the second volume of the Chiikawa manga. It eventually became a recurring secondary character that appears in stories related to food. Shisa loves eating food and earnestly teaches the other Chiikawa characters taste. It admires the master of the ramen shop, Ro. Shisa is currently studying so that it can get a liquor qualification. Its dream is to drink with the master. 


Pajama Parties (パジャマパーティー)

A group of side characters in the Chiikawa series, the Pajama Parties don’t seem to have any sort of face. This group performs songs and dances while wearing pajamas by Ponchette no Yoroi-san.


Ponchette no Yoroi-san (ポシェットの鎧さん)

Ponchette is part of the armored humanoid race known as Yoroi-san. A genderless knight, Ponchette is always ready to fight for justice. It loves its armor and wears it wherever it goes. Though Ponchette no Yoroi-san’s armor might seem heavy and uncomfortable, it considers it part of its identity. This character is a skilled fighter and a loyal friend who puts everyone’s safety first. Interestingly enough, Ponchette also loves cute things! It sells handmade ponchettes and pajamas. 


Rodo no Yoroi-san (労働の鎧さん)

The first Yoroi-san to appear in the Chiikawa manga, Rodo is mainly in charge of the reception desk for work. It has a blunt tone but it’s generally caring. Rodo no Yoroi-san’s hobby is working out. It secretly weight trains and owns its own equipment like ab rollers and such. Rodo is good friends with the other Yoroi-san’s Pochette and Ramen. They often go on picnics together. 


Ramen no Yoroi-san (ラーメンの鎧さん)

Like the name implies, this blunt Yoroi-san is the owner of the ramen shop, Ro. This ramen store is hugely popular among the characters because of its unique menu and ordering method. Though Ramen no Yoroi-san might seem rough and unapproachable, it’s actually very kind. 



It should come as no surprise that kawaii fans are curious to find out which Chiikawa character reflects them the most! After all, there are a lot of cute and relatable cuties in the series. It's natural to wonder who you might be among the Chiikawa characters.


Luckily, it isn’t that difficult to find Chiikawa personality tests online. Just search them up and pick a quiz to take! Are you the kind crybaby, Chiikawa? Are you the cute skillful warrior Rakko? Or maybe you’re screaming bunny Usagi? Go ahead and find out! 



Everyone wants to work together with Chiikawa! This super cute character series has gotten so much traction in the kawaii-sphere that it even managed to get the attention of the mega-giant, Sanrio. And can you believe it, Chiikawa managed to collaborate with Sanrio Characters not just once, but twice! 


Each of these projects resulted in super cute merch. Think unique plushies, charms, pouches, and totes that showcased Chiikawa dressed up as Sanrio cuties like Hello Kitty, My Melody, Pompompurin, and more. The collab with Sanrio was such a big hit that it even got a cute apparel collection from Uniqlo! 


That’s not all. Chiikawa also made a big anime connection when it got a fun collab with the popular shonen (boys’) anime, My Hero Academia. The heroic mashup between the two series resulted in a number of pop-up shops and quite a slew of cute goodies. From plushies to stickers to acrylic standees, all of the collab merch showcased the Chiikawa animal characters dressed up as the heroes of My Hero Academia. 



The Chiikawa characters are a pretty rowdy bunch, that’s why it should come as no surprise that they get fun team-ups with sports teams in Japan. In January 5, 2022, Chiikawa got to work together with the Japanese baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers. Then, a few days later on January 15, 2022, Chiikawa also got to team up with Japan’s national football team, Samurai Blue. Both projects resulted in lots of fun merch for Tigers and Samurai Blue Fans. 


In 2023, Chiikawa also got to team up with another national baseball team, this time the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. This was a bigger collab. Not only was there Chiikawa baseball merchandise, but there was also collab gourmet food at the baseball Dome including Chiikawa burgers, parfaits, and refreshing drinks.  


During the Chiikawa x Hawks project, fans also got the opportunity to take photos at a special photo panel and look out for screen images of Chiikawa during the Hawks’ games. The biggest treat was seeing Chiikawa, Hachiware, and Usagi appearing on the field to great Hawks’ fans! 



Thanks to a deal with Hankyu Railway, kawaii fans were able to ride three special Chiikawa-designed trains from August 2023 to March 2024. Running on the Kobe Line, the Takarazuka Line, and the Kyoto Line, the trains all had different Chiikawa designs. On the Kobe Line fans got to see Hachiware, on the Takarazuka Line there was Chiikawa, and the Kyoto Line had a giant Usagi stuffed animal sitting ruth in the driver's compartment. Hankyu also had fun Chiikawa promotions allowing train passengers to collect special stamps to win fun prizes like stickers and other collectibles. 



Chiikawa x Hanyu Railway was such a big hit among travelers that Hankyu decided to add another fun Chiikawa mode of transportation - buses. The company decided to release three different Chiikawa-designed buses to connect with the Kobe Line, Takarazuka Line, and Kyoto Line of Hankyu Railway. Like the trains, each bus showcased different designs. 



Did you know that kawaii fanatics got the chance to explore the tallest tower in the world together with Chiikawa? Tokyo Sky Tree had a starry collab with Chiikawa from October 2023 to January 2024. Not only did the team-up produce fun Chiikawa merch for sale at Tokyo Sky Tree, but the tower also featured tons of fun photo sections so visitors could take pictures with cuties from Chiikawa. 



The cuties from Chiikawa might be land creatures, but that doesn’t mean they can’t mess around in the aquarium! In 2023, the Sendai Uminomori Aquarium in Sendai, Japan partnered with Chiikawa not once, but twice that year. During each collab the public aquarium would get cute Chiikawa decorations, photobooths, and fun mascot appearances! 


Sendai Uminomori Aquarium also procured cute aquarium-themed Chiikawa merch for their shop. There were fish-themed Chiikawa plushies, acrylic stands, charms, and other collectibles that were sold during the Chiikawa x Sendai Uminiomori Aquarium collabs. They made great souvenirs for Chiikawa fans and aquarium visitors.



Chiikawa, Hachiware, Usagi, Sisha, and everyone else in the Chiikawa series are big fans of good food. That’s why snack companies know they’d make good partners! In March 2024, Tokyo Banana decided to collab with Chiikawa to produce the Chiikawa Pudding Cake. This sponge cake has a double cream filling made of banana pudding-flavored custard cream and bittersweet caramel cream. 


The Chiikawa Pudding Cake isn’t the only snack collab Chiikawa’s had though! There’s also the Dalloyau x Chiikawa team-up which resulted in pretty tasty Chiikawa macarons.  In 2022, Bandai’s confectionary branch Tabemas also released chilled Chiikawa sweets. Japanese snack companies like Heart and Meito also have a ton of Chiikawa snacks ranging from dough chips, and corn puffs, to chocolate treats. Yum!



Served by Ramen no Yoroi-san, the ramen in Chiikawa always looks appetizing. That’s why Japanese shopping mall Nagoya PARCO decided to bring Chiikawa’s ramen to life! Collaborating with Chiikawa, Nagoya PARCO opened the Chiikawa Ramen Buta shop for a limited time in March 2024. The Chiikawa Ramen Buta shop served three different sizes of ramen - the “mini (Chiikawa) size,” the “small (Hachiware) size,” and the “large (Usagi) size.” 


Customers who ordered the full ramen menu also got a special sticker and an original bowl design to take home. Besides the ramen, the shop also served Shisa mandarin orange juice, Momonga soda, Kuri-manju cola, and draft beer served in original mugs. There was also special Chiikawa merch that fans could buy in the store! 



Fans who missed the limited-time Chiikawa ramen don’t need to worry. Chiikawa has a permanent restaurant thanks to The Guest Diner & Cafe at Ikebukuro. Making its grand opening in November 2023, the Chiikawa restaurant is a family resto with a menu including eight different meals. That includes the “Chiikawa’s Children’s Lunch,” the “Hachiware Fried Egg and Hamburger set,” and the “Second-Generation Head Chef’s Whimsical Dessert Plate.” 


Not only does the restaurant have cute Chiikawa illustrations, it also has a replica of the chestnut manju button from the Chiikawa manga! There’s also a photo spot where you can take pictures with second-generation head chef Usagi and hall staff Hachiware and Chiikawa. Plus you can get fun restaurant-only merch afterwards. It’s the perfect spot for Chiikawa fans to hang out and have a good time. 



Unlike super popular kawaii characters like Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty, Chiikawa doesn't have a permanent cafe. It did however have a fun cafe campaign that included a number of pop-ups around Japan. That included the Chiikawa Cafe Nagoya Parco pop-up, the Chiikawa Cafe Encore Ikebukuro, and the Chiikawa Restaurant Drink Stand Okinawa. All of these pop-ups served delicious Chiikawa meals, desserts, and drinks! 



Don’t you ever think that Chiikawa is just so cute that all you want to do is keep it in your pocket? Thanks to Bandai, fans can do just that!  In June 2023, the toy manufacturer released Chiikiwa to Issho, a virtual pet game where players can feed, pet, and take care of Chiikawa characters. It also has fun mini-games to keep players entertained! 


After the success of the Chiikawa to Issho game, Bandai released the Chiikawa Learning PC for children in November 2023. Meant for kids 3 years old and up, the Chiikawa Learning PC has multiple educational games. It’s a cute way to get kids to learn more about language and science! 



Did you know that you can use Chiikawa credit cards to buy all sorts of goods? In 2021, Japanese credit card company released a special series of Chiikawa Visa credit cards! Not only did these credit cards boast super cute Chiikawa designs, but cardholders could also get special Chiikawa x Epos plushie charms. They also got 10% discounts on their EPOS card purchases at Marui Marui online stores and Modi stores in Japan. 



Don’t worry, it’s not that hard to have your fill of Chiikawa goodies! There are multiple permanent Chiikawa shops in Japan called Chiikawa Land. These shops can be found in Tokyo Station, Sendai, Nagoya, Yokohama, and other major Japanese locations. All of the Chiikawa Land outlets sell super cute merchandise including Chiikawa stationery, Chiikawa toys, Chiikawa home goods, and many other items that show how much you love Chiikawa. 


However, you do have to be warned that it might be a bit hard to get limited Chiikawa items from the shops in Japan. Chiikawa is super popular and usually there are really long lines outside the shop just to get the special goods! Sometimes fans even need to win lottery tickets just to get in the store. The shop will also limit the number of items people can buy per person! 


To make things easier, you can try ordering from Chiikawa’s online store. A lot of the regular items are available on the site. We also have a pretty hefty Chiikawa collection on Blippo filled with all sorts of fun goodies that you can use at home, at school, and in your travels. It’s okay, you can take your time filling in your cart with everything Chiikawa! 


So there you have it! Starting as a webcomic on Twitter, Chiikawa has branched out into the world with manga, anime, collaborations, restos, cafes, and tons of super cute merch. A simple but charming little cutie, this mouse has definitely become a rising star in Japan. As they say, great things come in small packages! 


How about you, what do you think of Chiikawa? Have you crossed paths with Chiikawa online? Who’s you’re favorite Chiikawa character? Is it Hachiware or maybe Shisa? We’d love to know. Don’t be shy and geek out with us over Chiikawa in the comment section below.

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