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Fictional characters of the Kakao brand, popular in South Korea and made into toys.
Kakao Friends (stylized as KAKAO FRIENDS) are featured characters based on KakaoTalkemoticons released in November 2012 by Kakao, managed by their subsidiary Kakao Friends Corporation. The company carries out character related businesses.
The character illustrator is Kwon Soon-ho, also known by his pen name Hozo. Kakao Friends has been used in various products and commercials, and has gained popularity and have become beloved characters in South Korea.
Ryan of Kakao Friends
Kakao Friends dolls
Kakao Friends characters were developed in about two months after the idea meeting in July 2012 began. The Kakao Friends manager stated that he created these characters to make the KakaoTalk IM service easy and fun for the public.
Muzi: Curious and playful, Muzi is actually a piece of danmuji in rabbit clothes. HOZO stated that he thought of a takuan while thinking about a character that could represent the colors yellow and brown, which are the corporate colors of KakaoTalk.
Con: Con, who looks like a small crocodile, is the one who raised Muzi. HOZO stated that Con is a character with a lot of secrets, always showing only the side of his face. The name Con is a combination of Crocodile and the Korean word (pronounced as kongal), which means 'small'.
Apeach: Apeach has the setting of escaping from a peach tree after learning that she became monoecious due to a genetic modification. She is a playful character, and also an adolescent character in their late teens to early twenties.
Jay-G: Jay-G is a mole character who was sent to find a rabbit's liver as an agent from the underground country. So, he chases after Muzi for his/her liver. He apparently renamed himself Jay-G, after looking up to the American hip-hop artist, Jay-Z.
Frodo: Frodo is a rich-born dog from the city. He is self-conscious about being a mixed-blooded dog. He usually wears a red dog collar or a tie. Frodo is officially a couple with Neo, the cat character, and shows affection.
Neo: Neo is a cat character with a bob cut wig and she is the lover of Frodo. The company stated that Neo is the representative fashionista of the Kakao Friends characters who love shopping.
Tube: Tube is a cowardly, weak-minded duck. He is insecure about his small feet, so he wears flippers. If he feels extreme fear or anger, he spits fire out of his mouth and turns into a crazy green duck.
Ryan: The character named Ryan was newly announced on January 22, 2016. He is a male lion whose complex is his absence of a mane. At first glance, he looks like a bear, but he is indeed a maneless lion. Ryan was a successor to the throne of Dung Dung Island, but he decided royalty was not for him. A lot of people misunderstand him because of his expressionless face, but he's the trustworthy mentor who has delicate emotions. Ryan's tail is short because it is cuter.
Since Kakao Friend's character products have been growing mainly in the market of Kidult culture, Kakao Friends officials stated that they will make character goods by paying attention to these parts.
In July 2014, the Daum Kakao partnered with Samlip Food and launched four kinds of "Shanni Kakao Friends Bread". In the early four species, there were about 130 kinds of sticky cacao friends' strips. In February 2015, they launched a brand of toothpaste with Kakao friend characters on it, in collaboration with LG H & H. An industry official stated that although they had put their company's character on children's products before, this was the first attempt to put their characters on adult products.
In May 2015, Burger King collaborated with Kakao Friends and offered a Kakao Friend Doll if one made an order for more than a certain price in the store.  Baskin Robbins has also sold ice cream cakes that featured Apeach and Muzi's faces.
In August 2015, the Daum Kakao launched 'Friend's Pop', the first mobile game that utilized the Kakao Friend character, and launched 'Friends Run', the sequel, in May 2016. Both games were rated top 10 in the Google Play sales. In May 2019, Daum Kako launched 'Friends Town', which was rated 1st in the Apple Appstore game ranking.
In November 2014, the Daum Kakao collaborated with Woori Bank to launch the 'Woori Bank Wallet Kakao Bankbook', a design account book with a bank account and a Kakao friends character account. In June 2015, in conjunction with Hana Card, KakaoPay's exclusive check card was launched using the Kakao Friend character.
Beginning in Sinchon in April 2014, the company opened a store in the form of a pop-up store in major department stores in major cities such as Daegu and Busan, and several stores were established as regular stores. In addition to the character products sold in stores, KaKao Friends characters are used in collaboration with other companies in other fields.