By Mark Frauenfelder at 11:16 am Thu, Jul 24, 2008
To promote the Beijing Olympics, a city in China has erected several statues depicting a cartoony athlete mouse with curious square holes punched in its ears. Here's the YouTube video.
Fake Mickey Mouse statues at the Beijing Olympics (Japan Probe)
i welcome our gargantuan-rodent overlords.
The ears are made to look like ancient Chinese coins which had a square hole in the middle. The Chinese are often very blatant in their desire for more money.
Note this “money shaped building” on flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/yewenyi/285670789/
Oh, great. Now all the kids will want square holes punched in their ears.
I’d also like to add that it is the year of the rat in China, so the choice of animal is not a big surprise. The mouse is similar to Micky, but there are some pretty pronounced differences. For example, the pants are red, but they do not have Micky’s buttons, nor does Micky often wear a yellow shirt. There are many knock-offs of Western IP and characters in China, but I wouldn’t consider this one of them.
Or in other words, the Chinese have not demonized wealth and well-being.
That is Coin-Eared Rodent, and is separate and distinct from any Disney properties. Have some tea.
isn’t it the chinese year of the rat (yep – reading the article.. as the commentary says)? seems more like part of whatever current theory of social condition or influence as it pertains to icon recognition is more at work here over some town in china deciding that mickey mouse is cool. Perhaps children everywhere are seeing too much of something…
Square holes, ears not black, different clothes…that ain’t Mickey.
well, that’s it for China. I suppose the Disney lawyers will settle for a few provinces.
Not only coin earned, but they allow the wind to pass through so the statues won’t be blown over!
We won’t know the true similarity until the lead paint test results come back.
Not wind: string, necklaces,etc….
Anyway ain’t Mickey Public Domain for all except USA and its cohorts re:length of protection? IIRC Mickey’d be pub dom without Congress getting involved back in the 90’s or something…
Rusty McLoon @%:
“There are many knock-offs of Western IP and characters in China, but I wouldn’t consider this one of them.”
If Mickey Mouse had never existed, would Coin-Eared Rodent look exactly like it does?
@Mark #13 “If Mickey Mouse had never existed, would Coin-Eared Rodent look exactly like it does?”
Very likely. Disney didn’t invent cute, infantile or anthropomorphic. (Though they’d like you to think so.)
c’mon, either you’re not educated enough or you fail to realize that the chinese do have their own traditions. its the chinese year of the rat, so the rodent statues shouldn’t even be mentioned as a mickey-mouse knock-off. the ears are symbols of ancient chinese currency, often taken as good luck.
I’d be fascinated to see one single example from the entire multi-millennium history of Chinese art featuring a cute, anthropomorphic mouse. So…who wants to take up the challenge?
That’s no fake. These are totally original characters like Rickey Rouse or Monald Muck.
I thought they looked a lot more like Mighty Mouse.
I notice he’s got the white four-fingered gloves characteristic of American cartoon characters.
Simplifying the hand down to three finger plus a thumb is a common animator’s tradition that would probably have evolved at any high-capacity animation studio, but I wonder where the white glove tradition came from. It can be seen on both Disney and Warner Bros characters. I know animators wear white cotton gloves to keep from smearing their work, but why put the gloves on the characters?
Individual Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 1920s or 1930s may be public domain (in some jurisdictions) due to copyright expiration, but Mickey himself is protected under trademark law. At least in theory.
Church @16: “Though they’d like you to think so.”
@ bubbafett: Me too, with the clothing colors, and the muscles. But isn’t Mighty Mouse himself sort of a mashup of Mickey and Superman?
@ Antinous: Check what Google unearths, heh, http://www.diannetanzergallery.net.au/artist.php?name=Dale%20Cox
(not real, obviously)
It’s soo full of meanings.
A crudely anthropomorphic disease carrying rodent carries the Olympic torch. In closer inspection we can see that the torch looks more like a bloody dagger. What fitting symbolism for for the Olympics organized in a country without any regard for human rights.
The character is obviously a bastardization of an iconic western character, but with disfiguring Chinese money holes in his ears, stating that above all is money.
If the Terrytoons folks had the current legal squad that marches under the Disney banner then, back in the day they would have sued Disney’s ass off when Mickey first appeared on the scene.
#22 Thanx CVR – would it apply to prevent non-profit ie non-trade use of the character?
Did Warhol license to make his Mickey?
The reporter on the original article asked the passerbyes about the statues and all of them exclamated “mickey mouse”.
Bloodboiler, it’s not a bastardization, but a way to drive the point home. Money, that is.
Clearly it is more closely related to Mighty Mouse, because Mickey is a sickly little bastard.
Jz wth th Dsny bsssn gn.
f smbdy cn jst fnd wy t mk n nmtrnc stmpnk Mcky Ms gv lctr n DRM, ths ntr st wll xpld.
â€œIll-disposed critics in 1925â€“1930 gave further examples of their ignorance when they reproached us for delighting in such childish distractions.â€ — AndrÃ© Breton
The main feature that would lead someone to believe that Coin-Eared Mouse is a Mickey ripoff is what I like to call the “minstrel face” (I’m not sure there’s a real name for it). That widow’s peaky thing over the eyes that extends around the mouth.
Nowadays most people associate this feature with Mickey and Goofy, but it was common cartooning shorthand in the early 20th c. for anthropomorphic animals. Felix the Cat had it, Oswald the Rabbit had it–pretty much any background animal in early b/w cartoons. It was a way for animators to have a hairless and expressive face on an otherwise furry animals.
But it actually dates back even further to racist cartoons of the 19th c. (hence the name I’ve given it) and I don’t think any more needs to be said about them.
Although it fell out of fashion as standards for animation rose, it can still be seen in characters nothing like Mickey (Bugs Bunny for instance–look at the shape formed by his large eyes and the white padding around his mouth/nose). Cartoonists like Jim Woodring and Chris Ware still use the “minstrel face” shape for their characters (Frank and Quimby Mouse respectively).
All this to say Coin-Eared Mouse may be a Mickey ripoff, or it may just be a throwback to a particular style of cartooning.
Avram @21, I believe the white gloves stem from the same minstrel-show roots that Prom77 refers to; saves having to rub soot all over the actor’s hands. If you look at very early black & white cartoons such as Flip the Frog, you can clearly see the influence.
It can’t be any worse than this Mickey Mouse knock off that stands in front of Little Israel , in Israel. It’s got that zombie marching quality about it.. “Cheese…. cheese….”
@Antinous “I’d be fascinated to see one single example from the entire multi-millennium history of Chinese art featuring a cute, anthropomorphic mouse. So…who wants to take up the challenge?”
That would be interesting, but to answer the original question you’d have to build an alternate history viewing machine. And then view them all.
@Mark “Citation, please?”
Not to be taken literally, but see e.g.
@Godfree: Very good point about the gloves. I hadn’t thought of that but it makes perfect sense.
#20 wins; it’s not Disney.
@#21: I wonder if it had to do with vaudville performers, I see them do that too.. wearing of the gloves.
gloves make hand gestures on a stage visible far away
Godfree & Avram, both points I had
not thought of, awesome wakeup call
I thought it was just “gloves are easier
to draw” but now I see that was much too
yeah fake mickeys are rampant in china, my favorite is this:
love how they spelled “Disney”
yay MCKLY MOSL!
also the ears remind me of chinese money
(square inside circle)
square = 4 sides = lucky
4 x 2 = double lucky
four means death
You’ll have tremendous difficulty in proving the assertion that the statue infringes Disney IP.
Though it’ll be a hell of a lot easier fro whoever built these things to sue you for either defamation or libel.
Just a thought.
What we didn’t hear:
Say its Mickey Mouse or you go to Jail!!!
………”It is certainly Mickey Mouse”
I worked in a museum in college and one day in the coatcheck a Chinese woman refused to take the tag I had given her for her jacket which was 44. Her husband explained that it was super bad luck / double deaths. Even after I gave her a different one she didn’t really seem to shake it off easily.
I didn’t realize I could get censored just for being mildly catty. I’ll try to limit myself to unchecked praise in the future.
This is odd because Beijing ALREADY HAS official mascots they could use.
Am I the only one who sees surveillance cameras hidden in the eyes?
i was just in shanghai and i believe that this is a character from a chain on kids arcade centers called “Tom’s World”
sinister and depressing .
a creature from hell
It’s a bit hard for me not to imagine
a string with a knot in the end, and
a whole bunch of these coin-eared rodents
strung on it through the ear-holes.
Hanging from the belt of a traditionally-garbed
all trying feverishly to free themselves from
Why does the Chinese Mickey Mouse look like an oversexual idiot?
The sign is in Japanese…
It’s a screen cap from Japan.
Disney will probably send a hitman after the artist.
The Japanese at the top is a news headline about it.
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