Nameko title

Before you say it, no, that’s not a phallus with feet; it’s a mushroom.

Readers outside of Japan may not be familiar with Nameko – the now famous cuddly character based on the slightly slimy nameko (or “pholiota nameko” to be exact) variety of mushroom that’s often used in dishes like miso soup. This little round-headed chap first came on the scene in the middle of 2012 and, like many weird and cuddly characters, was made available as a soft toy, key chain and sticker set, but before we knew it, Nameko goods of every shape and size popped up, delighting schoolkids and young female office workers with a penchant for kimokawaii (gross but cute) while leaving the rest of us creeped out and asking “But… why?”

The good news for fans of this buck-toothed mushroom is that online resource for all things Nameko, Namechoku, has recently launched “the biggest Nameko in history”.

It wasn’t until the end of last year that I personally first noticed this character. Wandering around a department store with my wife one Saturday after having eaten far too much cake at a cafe, we trundled up the escalator while discussing which film to see at the cinema that night. As we began to reach the top of the escalator, however, the following vision appeared over the horizon.

ummm

Hugely infantile being that I am, I stood aghast, pointing at the creatures on display before me and looking back at my wife.

“They’re supposed to be mushrooms,” she said before I could make a penis joke. “And you’re blocking the escalator.”

These cuddly toys may not be for childish men like me, but if you’re a big Nameko fan, for just 20,000 yen (US$216) plus 3,000 yen postage, you can get your hands on an entire metre of pure mushroom man to cuddle up or wander around town with like a deranged Drew Barrymore who just can’t accept the fact that E.T. was 30 years ago.

Presenting: the one-metre cuddly Nameko!

nameko collection

Taking orders from now until March 28, the Nameko Direct store stocks an enormous variety of Nameko goods. Whatever your tastes – so long as they’re mushrooms with a face – there’s bound to be one to fit! Take a look at some of these adorable little fellas.

▼ Totoro-esque Nameko sheltering under leaves.

nameko leaf

▼Young Nameko with flags.

nameko swing

▼ Scary Nameko that will eat your face.

nameko scary

▼ They’re all here!

nameko they're all here

So get over to the store now. Just think: with a few quick clicks, this could be you someday!

nameko

Source/Images:  ニコニコニュース/Namechoku

Store photo by RocketNews24. All images (C) Beeworks/SUCCESS