Who/What is Domo-kun?
Domo-kun (どーもくん) is a small brown open-mouthed monster hatched from an egg who lives with a wise old rabbit underground. He really, really likes TV and also enjoys rocking out to Guitar Wolf. Domo-kun is the mascot of NHK's BS2 (a satellite channel; he also appears on BS1). NHK has been producing a series of Domo-kun stop-motion vignettes that exude personal charm and warmth. There is also a wide variety of Domo-kun-related merchandise available, some of which is difficult/impossible to find in the US.
"Domo" in this case appears to mean more of something (usually to stress "thank you," "excuse me," etc), implying increased politeness. "kun" is used as "Mr." or "Ms." for "younger people or colleagues." He acquired his name in the second episode, when Usajii turns on the TV for him and an announcer says "Domo konnichiwa" ("very much hello").
I've received email from a member of the US Air Force who is stationed in Japan and this person indicates that "Domo" is used "everywhere" in Japan as "thanks." I've also read someone's opinion that "Domo" in this case means "ferocious," but the Random House Japanese/English dictionary doesn't support this at all (the "domo" meaning "ferocious" has two long "o"s, the "domo" in Domokun only has one).
According to NHK, Domo-kun is recognized by 90% of Japanese schoolchildren.
The egg probably originates from the egg-shaped rings of the NHK logo (made eggy in 1995).
The following are the character descriptions as they appear at Domomode.
DOMO is a strange creature born from an egg. One day he fell into Usajii's house, the old rabbit likes TV. After that he began to love watching TV. He is gentle and strong. When he is in a bad mood, he breaks wind.I am guessing that "bad mood" is really something like "distressed/nervous," as evidenced by the episode in which he accidentally meets up with Ta-chan, sweats a little, and lets fly.
Favorite food: Seasoned beef with potatoes
Disliked food: Apple (There seems a deep mystery in his DNA)
Favorite talent: MAX and The guitar wolf
A newer profile: "a strange creature that hatched from an egg. His body is stout but his heart is pure. Loves TV. Often causes trouble by daydreaming and not paying attention to things. Lets out explosive farts when upset. Favorite food: Japanese-style meat and potato stew. Least favorite food: Apples (a big mystery that's in his DNA)."
Usajii has been living in a cave for 70 years. He loves TV and astringent tea. When he was young, he often traveled with his sweet heart, but now he is completely retired. Favorite food: Kinds of carrot"Usagi" (rabbit) + "Oyaji" (older man) ~= Usajii!
Disliked food: A trivial thing
Favorite talent: Hijiri Kojima
A newer profile indicates he's now "Mr. Usaji" and "has lived in a cave for some decades. A retired old rabbit who loves strong green tea and good humor. Not into new things: doesn't even have a phone. In fashion, focuses on materials more than shapes. Favorite food: Carrots. Least favorite things: Anything meaningless."
Shinobu is a strong-minded mother. Morio is a mischievous child. They are hanger-on of Usajii's cave. Favorite food: The thing of a season (Shinibu)"Shinobu" means "endure."
Spaghetti Neapolitan (Morio)
Disliked food: Alcohol (Shinibu - She drinks alcohol in large amounts in fact.)
Favorite talent: Brad Pitt (Shinibu)
Ta-chan is a weasel girl. She is seventeen years old. She moved near Usajii's cave this spring. She dreams to be a stylist or model in Tokyo. She always tries to get information from a mobile phone, TV, or magazine. She is overly friendly, but is lonely somehow. She always adds "chi" to the end of a conversation, but she doesn't know it. She doesn't like the country-side.
A more recent profile indicates her name is now Tashanna and gives this as a description: "A young weasel-girl who hasn't had a boyfriend in ten years. Her dream is to become a fashion stylist or model in Toyko. Has a weaselly accent ending every sentence with "y". Little bit lonely, but absolutely friendly. Passionate about auctions, but always gives up on her bids in the end. Favorite food: apricot and mint tarts. Least favorite food: sea urchin."
Sekian, Thank You To All My Readers :) Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.