What is Kodomomuke? [Definition, Meaning]

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Intro

Throughout our childhood we have all grown up around certain television shows that have inspired us. Many of these shows have become a part of our very being, and there's always that moment when you look back on how exciting it was to be a kid. For those in America you had the top tier networks for cartoons such Nickelodeon, Fox Kids, and Cartoon Network. In Canada we had the very popular YTV, which aired such timeless classics like Goosebumps, Inuyasha, and of course the very popular Pokemon. So this brings us to what Kodomomuke is and just what exactly does it mean. Kodomo in Japanese refers to a child (子供- こども), while muke means toward (向け). When you place the two together you create a term that refers to television shows targeted towards children. Here in Japan, there are a large handful of children's television shows that have been on air for decades, and still to this day are still extremely popular. So now that you know more about Kodomomuke, let's jump right.

Inspiration towards children

Children are a god given gift to this world, and so as adults we feel like it is best to devote ourselves to ensure their healthy growth. In Japan, there are shows that teach all different types of things such as English, and cooking, but none stand out more than the cartoons. Every generation can tell you of their favorite cartoons growing up, and we at Honey's Anime are huge fans of the classics. These are the shows that really stood the test of time, managing to break barriers, and bring families together to enjoy fantastic entertainment. We all can remember that one moment after coming home early from school, when we throw down our bags, forget about dinner and just glue ourselves to the screen for the entire day. Or what about those weekends when the cartoon lineup was filled with heavy hitters, and you wouldn't leave the living room until you watched every single episode. It's important that when catering to children that your shows invoke a message that continues to resonate with them well into their adolescence. We can list of an entire list of shows that do so, but we'd like to focus on the ones that truly created a nationwide impact that can still be felt today.


Sore Ike! Anpanman

  • Episodes: 1320
  • Aired: October 3, 1988 - Present

This is truly a first that you'll ever see our episode count go over 1000, but it's for a very good reason all thanks to Takashi Yanase. Anpanman has become one of the most popular franchises all across Japan for young children, with the show being on air well before you were born. Many children fell in love with Anpanman due to his very cute appearance but powerful heart, and strong sense of compassion for others. He is also a heavily sought out item in many stores, as the minute you walk into any outlet in the mall pertaining to children, you'll see his face stamped across almost every item you can imagine. The series has become such a household name selling well over 50 million copies of books all across the nation. Creator Takashi stated that he got the idea behind Anpanman during the second world war, when on the verge of starvation, he had a dream that he could eat the most delicious anpan, which is created with the very delicious adzuki bean.

The story of Anpanman begins when a magical star known as the star of life, descends down onto Earth and into a chimney of a bakery. The dough that lied in the oven started to come to life and thus the hero known as Anpanman was born to the world, with his enemy Baikinman out to spoil the fun. Baikin in Japanese refers to bacteria (バイキン) and so Baikinman wants to create problems for Anpanman but never seems to succeed in his plans, so Anpanman focuses on trying to save the world from starvation and promotes healthy eating towards children. The show not only promotes healthy eating and awareness, but it heavily promotes creating friendships, building long lasting relationships, and most importantly taking care of family and loved ones. This very positive message is what really resonates with the audience because it teaches children at a young age about cooperation, compassion, and consideration of others.

Doraemon

  • Episodes: 1787
  • Aired: April 2, 1979 - March 18, 2005

There is simply no way that we could ever leave out the iconic Doraemon, as it not only has become such a success in Japan, but made a name for itself all across the globe. The series was created by Fujiko Fujio, and saw it's initial release back in 1979 with incredible reviews from those who tuned in. The series has grown to become one of the best selling manga in the world, selling over 100 million copies with that number continuing to grow over the years. What made Doraemon such a magnificent children's show was that it was unique in its approach to design, with a main character who had a big heart and wanted to protect someone he cared for.

The name Doraemon derives from the term dora neko (ドラ猫) which generally means stray cat, while emon (衛門 ) is a very archaic component in Japanese which refers to male given names for example, Goemon. Doraemon also loves Dorayaki which is an extremely popular snack for children which is adzuki bean paste sandwiched between two pancakes. The story follows Doraemon as he must travel back in time to assist Nobi's greatest grandfather Nobita to ensure that his descendants can look forward to a brighter future. The two travel across the vast lands of Japan to discover more about themselves, but also the world around them on their epic journey for truth. We come to admire Doraemon and Nobi's relationship because you watch as the two grow and mature together through their experiences. Much of this can relate to that of a brotherly love, where there's always a mutual respect and consideration for one another, and they both devote themselves to ensuring the other doesn't get hurt.

This type of relationship is what makes the series so endearing because it teaches children the importance of sticking together, and to protect your siblings throughout life. Japan really places high value on family and connectedness and so when you tune into the series you start to see these small intricacies stand out.


A true learning experience

For those who have spent countless hours in front of the box know that, when it comes to cartoons there's something that has to really catch our attention to keep us engaged. There are very few shows that can really help us learn more about ourselves, but also about the importance of togetherness. Children's cartoons are unlike any other cartoon out there because not only does it entertain you, but it educates you on the more fundamental aspects of life moving forward. While we may not have paid much attention to the messages growing up, looking back on them you start to realize just how powerful these shows were, and why we could never leave our living rooms. Children's cartoons are a true learning experience and immerse you in a world that is far from reality in terms of character design and location, but the world which resides within us is touched by the truths of what human interaction can do for us as we mature.


Pokemon

  • Episodes: 276
  • Aired: April 1, 1997 - November 14, 2002

There is simply no other show of the 90's that made such a remarkable impact on the world, that even today it speaks volumes like no other and that's Pokemon. The series came out back in 1996 launching two of the most popular Game Boy titles at that time, red and blue, which sold millions of copies weeks after launch. Fast forward to today and Ash is still on his journey to become the very best, with Pikachu by his side to assist him. The theme song to Pokemon is so iconic that we're sure majority of you reading this right now could most likely sing the entire thing without much effort, or recite the entire Poke rap off the top of your head. One thing that is absolutely certain, is that Pokemon has become a global phenomenon and it's hype train just doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. With Pokemon GO just launching worldwide, everyone now is on the journey to becoming the greatest Pokemon Master and let us not forget that Pokemon Sun and Moon are just over the horizon as well.

The story has captivated millions, transforming innocent children into obsessive trainers who want nothing more than to collect as many Pokemon as possible before the school bell rings. Pokemon cards were the craze back in the mid 90's as well, and to no surprise are still a monumental asset to the success of the franchise. Ash sets off on a journey that takes him across various parts of the world to defeat gym leaders, leading him one step closer to the Elite Four. Team Rocket however is having none of this and always tries to stop Ash and his pack of friends from ever reaching glory. Unfortunately for Jesse and James (Musashi and Kojirou in Japan) along with Meowth, they always seem to get so close to winning but then get catapulted into the stratosphere for their efforts.

Pokemon isn't just a fantastic story about catching cool creatures, but what really makes it a fantastic children's show is that it's all about adventure, friendships, loyalty, and compassion. All of these put together create a show that speaks to not only the young generation, but an entire population of people who are inspired to become better individuals in life. Nintendo not only created a franchise, they've created a true learning experience for everyone to take part in.


Kodomomuke will always continue to shine throughout many generations, as new and more popular shows will make their debut, creating an even larger impact than the ones we've mentioned. There's simply no telling where these shows will go, but one thing is certain, these shows speak to entire world with no barriers to block the message that's been presented. With other fantastic shows like Digimon, the entire Ghibli library, the everlasting Sazae-san, Chibi Maruko-chan, Crayon Shin-chan and more, Children's television will always be an inspiration to anyone of any age, because at the end of the day we are all in the end just children living in a grown up body.

Which shows made you laugh, cry, or fill with excitement?If you feel like there are other wonderful and inspiring children's anime out there that bring out that inner child, make sure to drop them in the comments section down below!

As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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