Earlier this week, you met Duffy and his friends, ShellieMay, Gelatoni, and StellaLou. It is no surprise that these characters are so popular with Japanese Disney fans, for they are just as cute and loveable as can be. You may recall in my last post that when Duffy was originally released in the US as simply “The Disney Bear” that his popularity never caught on, even when he was released in many different colors. This was certainly not the case with Japanese fans! Years after Duffy’s initial release in Japan, the Oriental Land Company decided to branch out with a new line of toys (most likely inspired by Duffy’s popularity) called the Disney UniBEARsity. “But why more bears?” you may ask. In the country of Japan, teddy bears are highly revered. In fact, two of Japan’s most famous mascots (besides Duffy) are also teddy bears! You may have already heard of Rilakkuma, the popular Sanrio teddy bear who has made his way around the world. Another very popular teddy bear is Kumamon, a mascot that was produced by the Kumamoto Prefecture after the bullet train for the area opened. His popularity has soared since 2010, and has earned billions from Kumamon merchandise!
In typical Disney fashion, the UniBEARsity has a simple, yet cute story to go along with it. The story goes that Professor Ludwig von Drake was was teaching Mickey and his friends about bears when Minnie had the idea to make teddy bears of all of her friends! Minnie had obviously had a lot of practice with sewing teddy bears, what with making both Duffy and ShellieMay, so she taught each of her friends how to make their own bears.
The UniBEARsity has been around for just over 6 years, with the first bears’ release on January 21, 2011. Since then, many other Disney characters have created their own bears, each with delectably sweet names. Below is a list of all of the bears that have been released to date, with their Disney character counterparts.
- Mocha – Mickey
- Pudding – Minnie
- Whip – Donald
- Puffy – Daisy
- Mont and Blanc – Chip and Dale
- Maple – Pluto
- Scone – Goofy
- Rusk – Max
- Salt – Pete
- Syrup – Pluto’s puppies
- Apricot – Clarice
- Blue, Berry, Pie, and Vanilla – Stitch, Angel, Scrump, and The Ugly Duckling
- Melon and Soda – Mike and Sulley
- Avacado and Chili Pepper – Jose and Panchito
- Rose Rose – Princess Aurora
- Mauve – Maleficent
- Blue Rose – Princess Cinderella
- Charmant – Prince Charming
- Potiron – Fairy God Mother
- Rouge Rose – Princess Belle
- Fauve – The Beast
- Chou – Alice
- Milk – White Rabbit
- Souffle – The Cheshire Cate
- Mint Tea – The Mad Hatter
- Sugar – The March Hare
- Jam Jam – The Dormouse
- Macaron – The Baby Oyster
- Red Berry – The Queen of Hearts
But of course no Japanese Disney merchandise line would be fully complete without some Tsum Tsums!
Mickey’s teddy bear, Mocha, and friends can be found in a set as well as Alice’s teddy bear Chou and the rest of the Alice and Wonderland character’s bears. Sadly, these Tsum Tsums and UniBEARsity Teddy Bears are currently only available in Disney Stores in Japan and China. I would love the chance to purchase them here in my area, wouldn’t you?
*TSUMthing.com does not claim ownership to any of the photos in this post. All photos are property of either the Walt Disney Company, the Oriental Land Company, Sanrio or the Kumamoto Prefecture.*3