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Danbo (Japanese: ダンボー) is a Japanese cardboard robot that originally appeared in the manga Yotsuba&! in 2007. Similar to Domo, Danbo is seen as an icon of curious innocence.
Danbo first appeared in Chapter 28 of the manga Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma, published in April 2006. In the issue, the main character Yotsuba Koiwai mistakes her friend Miura Hayasaka dressed up as a science project for a real robot. When Yotsuba asks the robot its name, Miura does not want to crush her friend’s dreams, naming the costume “Danbo,” a play on the Japanese word for corrugated cardboard, danboru (段ボール). While the robot was originally named “Cardbo” in the first translation, when Yen Press re-published the manga, they chose “danbo” which senior editor JuYoun Lee thought sounded cuter.
In December 2007, Japanese toy maker Kaiyodo, known for manufacturing the toy known as Hentai Woody, began selling Danbo toys online. Between 2007 and 2012, Revoltech has released several variations of the Danbo figures including ones with Amazon and 7-11 logos.
As early as 2009, Flickr users began posting series of photos featuring Danbo in every day situations in the style of Photo-a-Day projects. In March 2009, photographer Arielle Nadel began posting series of these photos to her Flickr account. In the fall of 2011 , Nadel’s photos were compiled into a book titled 365 Days of Danboard.
In April 2009, the Flickr group Danbo Love was founded to pool these images together and in three years, the group amassed 3300 members and nearly 23,000 photos. In 2010, series of these Flickr photographs were shared on tech sites Tektuff, Dev Design, HongKiat and Neatorama. The single topic Tumblr Fuck Yeah, Danbo was founded in March 2010.
On Facebook, Danbo has several fan pages. As of April 2012, the top three pages have a combined 144,000 likes. There is a group for Danbo photos on deviantArt as well as over 9000 pieces of fan art tagged “danbo.”There is also a Flickr pool with over 47,000 items and a Tumblr tag where additional images of the cardboard robot can be found.