Usagi（ウサギ) = rabbit February 06 2014
First a short Japanese lesson。。。
Usagi（ウサギ) = rabbit
Chan (ちゃん）= suffix for a familiar person
Te = hand
Nugui = to wipe
Kawaii (かわいい) = cute, adorable, charming
A few of years ago I found myself stuck when a friend asked me to do a design for her kid’s yoga project. After a few lame attempts I decided to commission the task out to my friend Sayaka Yamamoto. Her animations style, sense of humor, and knowledge of yoga made her the perfect collaborator.
A few days later she sent me the “Usagi-chan”, an adorable bunny rabbit doing suryanamskara A and the text saying I LOVE YOGA with font made from Usagi-chan in various pseudo-yoga poses. When I first started GBSK the image I had for the project did not include little bunnies doing yoga. But I thought the design was so good I just had to print it.
The client was pleased with the designs and I gave it to her on the pretext that I would also be printing a similar design on GBSK t-shirts. And it automatically became a popular favorite amongst Japanese yogis. A few weeks later Sayaka took it upon herself to draw Usagi-chan doing full primary series. So I made another silkscreen and started producing new shirts with front and back printing…And it quickly became our best seller.
A year later we decided to give Usagi-chan a new vehicle. The “Usanugui”
Usagi + Tenugui = （うさぬぐい）Usanugui
Tenugui is a thin Japanese hand towel made of cotton. It is typically about 35 by 90 centimeters in size, plain woven and is almost always dyed with some pattern. It can be used for anything a towel could be used for - as a washcloth, dishcloth, but often as a headband, souvenir or decoration, and a great accessory for a sweaty yoga practice.
And a new tote bag
Of course I am happy to have such a popular product in the line-up. But, I must admit there is some irony that our bestseller in Japan happens to be the only design that I did not make myself. And I honestly don’t know if the Usagi’s popularity will extend beyond the borders of Japan, a country obsessed with all things Kawaii (かわいい) cute.
But there is one pretty cool yoga teacher in New York who liked it enough to request a personal design for his school.
Please check out the current Usagi-chan line up on THE SHOP
You can see more of Sayaka Yamamoto’s great drawing of Hindu Gods and other various themes that she uses for her lecture classes or just for fun on her facebook page.