Drift Away with Jinbesan!
Jinbesan is a loving whale shark with a heart and body as big as the ocean! This gentle giant of the ocean comes from San-X, the Japanese company known for its iconic kawaii characters like Rilakkuma and the Sumikko Gurashi.
Like its San-X siblings, Jinbesan is loved by kawaii fanatics not only in Japan but everywhere around the world. Today we’re going to learn more about Jinbesan and his underwater adventures together with the octopuses, fish, and other lovely friends from the the sea!
- Japanese name: じんべさん (Jin-be-san)
- Place of birth: The big blue ocean
- Birthday: Sometime in 2015
- Species: Whaleshark
- Special Skill: Making everyone feel relaxed!
- Fun fact: Jinbesan can be spotted in most aquariums in Japan!
WHAT DOES JINBESAN MEAN?
Before we go exploring the deep blue ocean together with San-X’s calm and relaxed giant, we’ve got to understand what Jinbesan actually means. In Japanese, Jinbesan comes from two different words. The first is Jinbei which in Japanese means whale shark. San is the suffix that Japanese people often add to the end of names as a sign of respect. When you put the two words together you get Jinbesan, which means Mr. Whale Shark! It’s so polite and kawaii!
WHAT KIND OF WHALE IS JINBESAN?
While a lot of people mistake Jinbesan for a nice big whale, Jinbesan actually isn’t a whale at all. Nope, with its cute flat head and the spots on its big back, Jinbesan is actually a kind of shark that roams in shallow waters in the sea. Surprising, isn’t it?
IS JINBESAN A WHALE SHARK?
Ding, ding, ding, ding! That’s right, Jinbesan is actually a whale shark! These amazing creatures are called whales because of their massive size. Some grow up to 18 meters in length which is longer than a school bus! Don’t worry though, whale sharks are gentle animals that feed on plankton and small fish in the tropics. They’re okay with humans! Jinbesan is an especially gentle whale shark. Everyone wants to be Jinbesan’s friend.
WHO CREATED JINBESAN?
Jinbesan comes from the creative minds of the people at San-X! This Japanese kawaii company loves making cute oddballs like the anxious, corner-loving characters the Sumikko Gurashi, the abandoned stuffed animals of the Sentimental Circus, and the laidback bear, Rilakkuma. Like its other siblings from San-X, Jinbesan has a growing fanbase of kawaii fans!
WHEN WAS JINBESAN CREATED?
This calming cutie was made in 2015, three years after San-X created the anxious, corner-loving kawaii oddballs, the Sumikko Gurashi. Kawaii fans all fell in love with Jinbesan the moment that he was launched together with his sea-loving buddies. To this day Jinbesan is one of the most popular kawaii characters from the sea!
LET’S MEET JINBESAN’S FRIENDS
Because of his calm and relaxing nature, a lot of sea creatures love staying with Jinbesan. This gentle whale shark just makes everyone around him so happy! Cuties like Nekonbu, Ei-san, and Kokujira just like drifting across the sea together with him.
Don't be fooled! Nekonbu might look like a cat, but this cutie is actually kelp that's shaped like a sweet little feline. Nekonbu waits for fish while being swayed by the waves in the sea.
This cute little stingray likes to stick on Jinbesan's stomach. Ei-san has a dual personality. On the outside, he might seem quiet, but on the inside Ei-sanis actually really chatty.
Kokujira is a real baby whale! Jinbesan met this cutie while drifting around the ocean. Though a bit spoiled, Kokujira is super kawaii and energetic. It often squirts water from its head when it's happy!
Chinanagotachi are eels that love to stay relaxed. They're always thinking about how to spend their time in leisure.
These octopuses come in different colors. They often visit the Octopus Paint shop, a popular joint where other octopuses paint sea creatures in different colors.
A small fish that stays with sharks, Kobanzame has been clinging on to Jinbesan and feeding from its leftovers for a while now.
An actual shark, Same-san didn’t have too many friends. It actually bit Jinbesan’s tail when it met the whale shark! Now, thanks to Jinbesan, Same-san has more friends to make him happy!
These small anemones are occasionally used as decoration by the octopuses. Isogin can be a bit impatient at times.
Round and bright, the pearl brothers live freely inside shellfish. Sometimes they hold hands to become a necklace!
A nice clam, Akoya-san is the Pearl Brothers' house. It's surprisingly spacious inside!
Tori Kurage is a phantom jellyfish! It can grant any wish that you make!
Kokojira no Okaasan
Kokojira no Okaasan is a big pink whale. She’s actually Kokujira’s mother!
Jinbesan Is The Sea’s Biggest Star!
Sure, Jinbesan might not have his own anime series, but he does have some short films from San-X. They’re light and whimsical videos that show Jinbesan’s life in the ocean! Some of the videos also showcase the different sea creatures that the whale shark makes friends with while drifting around the sea.
Coloring With Jinbesan!
Did you know that Jinbesan has his own coloring books? It makes sense. Coloring is super relaxing and Jinbesan has that calming aura that just makes you feel good. Not only does Jinbesan have coloring books for kids, but there are coloring books for adults too. Everyone deserves to spend an afternoon chilling and coloring with Jinbesan!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that everyone wants to work with Jinbesan. This sweet whale shark can get along with anybody. In 2022, Jinbesan got together with Iwashita’s New Ginger Museum for a special collab which produced some fun new whale shark plushies. According to the Iwashita New Ginger story, Jinbesan found some Iwashita New Ginger floating around! When Jinbesan ate it, his body instantly became pink!
Jinbesan also worked together with his awkward senpai-tachi (upperclassmen) from San-X, the Sumikko Gurashi! It seems like Neko, Tokage, Shirokuma, Tonkatsu, and Penguin? got a chance to meet the gentle giant while they explored the sea. Their adventure resulted in lots of cute merch for both Sumikko Gurashi and Jinbesan fanatics.
Let’s Hang Out at the Jinbesan Cafe!
There aren’t too many cafes dedicated solely to our favorite gentle giant, but thanks to that collab with Iwashita’s New Ginger Museum, Jinbesan got his own little popup cafe! Jinbesan’s fans got to try three different types of treats inspired by the friendly whale shark. There was a Jinbesan curry, a Jinbesan soda float, and a Jinbesan parfait. Each one showcased a pink Jinbesan!
Where Can I Buy Jinbesan Goodies?
You can find so many different Jinbesan merch in Japan. Sometimes they can even be found in the souvenir shops of Japanese aquariums! That even includes the humongous Aqua World aquarium in Ibaraki prefecture. Aqua World had a nice littlecollab with San-X and naturally they had to have Jinbesan join the fun!
Of course you don’t really need to buy a plane ticket Japan to buy Jinbesan knick-knacks. You can find them right here in our Jinbesan collection! From Jinbesan plushies, Jinbesan stationery, to Jinbesan home goods, there’s so much to choose from. You could turn your room into an aquarium filled with all the different Jinbesan goodies you can find!
So there you have it, everyone! That’s everything you need to know about Jinbesan. Do you like the cute whale shark? Which of his friends is your favorite? Don’t be shy and let us know in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!