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Domo is a Japanese character often pasted in to relevant or major scenes of disaster as the apparent cause for destruction. Domo’s usage is very similar to the more contemporary Disaster Girl. He has grown to become a pop culture icon.
Domo-Kun (どーもくん Dōmo-kun) was initially the official mascot of Japanese television station NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai). The station introduced the character in December 1998 with several stop-motion sketches made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the station being on air. Created and animated by Tsuneo Gōda, Domo was formed out of sketches of shapes while Gōda was brainstorming for a mascot. The character received its name from the announceer’s introduction to the second airing of the animation: “dōmo, konnichiwa” (どうも、こんにちは?), which roughly translates to “Well, hello there!”
On The Web
Threads about Domo were posted on Japanese imageboard 2channel as early as 2001, showing up in ASCII forms on the site. The same year, Domo began appearing in Newgrounds flash animations. On December 16th, 2002, a collaboration game between Newgrounds founder Tom Fulp and the site i-Mockery.com, was released entitled Domo-Kun Angry Smashfest. That week, it was voted as the Weekly User’s Choice game.
Domo’s Personal History
According to his mythology, Domo was hatched from an egg and lives underground with a rabbit, Usajii. He loves watching television and is known for passing gas when he gets nervous. He also has a fear of apples, since his ancestors became extinct after eating them. He doesn’t speak, he only communicates via low noises that sound like his name.
Domo was introduced to English-speaking audiences when a photoshopped image of two Domo-kuns chasing kittens appeared on Fark November 28, 2002. It was captioned Every Time You Masturbate, God Kills A Kitten, which became a catchphrase on its own.
The first Domo YTMND was created on July 13th, 2004 and over 150 have been created since. Domo’s official site, DomoNation.com, was registered on October 31st, 2005. Since then, it has grown to feature forums, video, news, games and other interactive elements.
In September 2008, Domo was featured in his first major American marketing campaign for the chain store Target. During the campaign, Domo was their official Halloween mascot, appearing in posters and displays nationally. The following year, Domo began appearing in a 7-Eleven campaign involving commercials as well as limited edition cups, signage, and food packaging. Also in September 2009, TokyoPop published an exclusive English language Domo manga series. Retail stores Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic both carry Domo merchandise, ranging from plush toys and clothing to electronics and other accessories.
Since “domo” is also an initialism for the game Dream of Mirrors Online and a word in several other languages, it has been excluded from this graph. Search for Domo-kun and the Japanese translation both seem to correlate, although the search volume for both has decreased over the years.