Kigurumi – Animal Costume and Japanese Onesies

Have you ever heard of the term kigurumi? When we search the internet we come across several jumpsuits, costumes and pajamas of animal or cartoon characters. In this article we will investigate and analyze everything about kigurumi in depth.

What does kigurumi mean?

Kigurumi is a Japanese word derived from the characters [着] meaning to dress (ki) with the word [縫いぐるみ] meaning stuffed animals (nuigurumi). The reading “Ki” and “Gurumi” is added to form [着包み].

 The Japanese word sounds something literal like “wearing a cute animal” or “wearing an animal costume”. It can refer to both the act of dressing and the costume.

So basically the term kigurumi refers to any costume with teddy bear features, which in the vast majority refers to pajamas or cosplay-style costumes for anime events.

Kigurumi - animal costume and japanese pajamas

‎What is kigurumi?‎ What is it for?

Kigurumis were initially designed to dress performers and are most often found in theme parks. The Japanese also love mascots, every city in japan has a mascot.

Kigurumis are also classified as a form of cosplay. In some cases, a mask is used instead of the cap, with the character's head. There are often plush character heads called Ahegao.

Nowadays the kigurumi, in addition to being a costume for events and presentations, ended up becoming a very popular kind of pajamas to sleep in, especially in colder regions.

Kigurumi - animal costume and japanese pajamas

What is the difference between kigurumi and jumpsuit?

Both garments are made from cotton, wool, terrycloth cloth, satin and sometimes flannel. Kigurumis are custom-made as costumes and used primarily during performances or theme parks.

Onesies jumpsuits are initially designed as sleepwear and offer simpler style and patterns. Kigurumis are detailed, often colorful and flashy, and are available in a variety of designs, from cartoons, anime characters, and cute animals.

Western jumpsuits are often thinner and cooler, not as fluffy and puffy as kigurumi. Doing an image search on the internet, you will notice the differences.

Kigurumi - animal costume and japanese pajamas

parts of kigurumi

Kigurumi can be any wearable clothing with a fluffy and comfortable texture, often looking like a human plush doll. What sets Japanese animal pajamas apart from fluffy western onesies is often the styles and characters.

A kigurumi pajama is usually made up of just one piece with a cap and animal ears. There are costumes that divide the lower, upper and head parts.

Shoes are usually slipper styles, some people wear underwear, while others need to fill out the costume to get the right volume. Of course this only applies to artists and not children who are looking for a sleepover pajama.

Kigurumi and Animegao Mascara

Unlike pajamas, kigurumi costumes can be accompanied by a mask called Animegao. It's basically the face of the anime character made in plush to fit any head.

Characters who wear masks are usually female and human. Of course, without considering all the mascots of companies, cities and stores in Japan, or animal characters from games and anime. It's just unusual to wear the mask with a stuffed animal pajamas to sleep.

It may be common for animal costumes to have a plush head, but it turns out that anime characters look pretty weird. So strange that there are memes, fetishes and internet channels focused on Ahegao.

Many kigurumi anime artists use this mask so as not to expose the person themselves and always remain in the role of the character. Usually these costumed performers don't usually speak and only use gestures or act like the character.

Kigurumi - animal costume and japanese pajamas

What is the History and Origin of Kigurumi?

Kigurumi animal onesies first appeared in Japan in the late 1990s, created by a company known as SAZAC. It quickly became a staple of Shibuya and Harajuku culture and fashion, and has remained an iconic part of Japanese street style.

There are reports of animal jumpsuits being used even before World War II, but in Japan its history may be even older. There are historical antecedents dating back to 1600.

At the famous Kabuki Theater, some artists instead of elaborate makeup, simply wore kabuki masks. some of cute and exotic creatures like ghosts and oni.

Another ancient art that may have inspired kigurumi is the Japanese puppet theater called Bunraku, where puppeteers dressed all in black and wore meter-high puppet masks.

Kigurumi - animal costume and japanese pajamas

Are kigurumi popular?

In the West these cute animal jumpsuits known as kigurumi go unnoticed, but in Japan they have been part of the cultural mainstream for more than 25 years among children, teenagers and even adults.

Between 1999 and 2004, the kigurumi became an underground trend in the Americas and Europe. With the time and popularity of anime in the west, this trend has become more and more strong, especially in anime events.

Where to Buy Kigurumi?

Quality Kigurumi costumes need to be imported from another country, as in the West their price can be quite high and their quality dubious. Just like teddy bears, stuffed animal costumes are also expensive, starting as low as $50. You can find animal onesies for up to 20 dollars.

The best place to buy Kigurumi is on Aliexpress, there you will find different stores, different products and different prices for your plush pajamas. We recommend using the link below to access the store, thus helping the site earn a small percentage.

How to wash kigurumi?

If you are washing your Kigurumi for the first time, we recommend using the gentlest setting in your washing machine using cold water and any laundry detergent.

This is to keep the fleece fluffy, protect the details on the face, and prevent discoloration. For subsequent washes, the color should be set and you can use lukewarm water if you wish. Fabric softener is optional.

When drying, we recommend hanging it, but it can take days to dry completely. You can use a dryer, but we recommend using the gentlest, driest setting.

Using a temperature that is too hot can shrink your costume. If possible, dry a little in the machine and hang for as long as possible.

Because it is a cotton plush, you will probably come across pills in your costume. The best thing to do is to buy an accessory capable of removing these balls.

Kigurumi is also a J-POP band

Kigurumi is also a famous J-pop band from Japan who debuted in 2006 with the duo Rena Shimura and Haruka. Later, two new members, Miki and Kei, joined the band in 2007.

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