Sirotan: the cute, cosplaying baby seal plushie that’s won over Japan

We dare any of you to tell us, with a straight face, that you’ve never melted at the sight of a baby seal.

See? That’s how Sirotan gets you.

Forever a baby, but looks different every day

Cute, fluffy Sirotan is a young harp seal. At least, he used to be.

The official site gives his birthday as August 1999 – so Sirotan isn’t so young any more. From August 2019, he’s old enough to drink alcohol in Japan. But it’s true that baby harp seals are bright white, turning greyer as they get older. We haven’t seen any grey furs on Sirotan yet.

He’s from ‘the country of ice’. Gonna go ahead and assume that’s Iceland. The Arctic Ocean’s where harp seals like to hang out IRL.

Sirotan’s 4 fave things to eat are: fish (good), ice cream (uhh), sweets (okay, fair), and milk (that’s not even a food). In his spare time, he likes to sleep, swim around the ocean, and transform into other things.

Yeah, you read that last bit right.

This seal loves pretending to be anything but a seal. Other sea animals, forest animals, a ninja, a circus ringleader, Easter bunny, a hamburger, a strawberry… That’s right, he’s a cosplayer!

Sirotan also dresses up for the holidays, like Halloween, Christmas, and New Year.

Either order a Sirotan in costume, or buy the outfit by itself for a seal you’ve already got. Harp seals love being sociable and making friends – best excuse ever to get more.

Kawaii goods with the fans’ seal of approval

Sirotan’s super social, as any young seal should be. He has 5 LINE themes and at least 13 sets of stickers, last time we checked. But is anyone policing this baby’s social media habits?

Official Sirotan merch first went on sale at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Here in Osaka, we’ve got 2 Sirotan Friends Park shops: inside Namba station, and an Ebisubashi shop that opened in November 2018.

Obviously, there are plushies, both in costumes and not.

So many plushies, and so soft and huggable.

Choose your Sirotan sitting or lying down, and at any size from keychain mascot to proper huggable buddy. New outfits come out in multiple sizes, too. And there’s also a ‘poseable plushie’, with movable arms and legs. To get that seal to sit up, put a full water bottle in the back pocket…

The ones that look like a giant colourful bug eating a seal are called ‘tsuchinoko’ Sirotan plushies.

In Japanese, that means… ‘mythical snake-like creature’. We’re not making that up. And we’ve got no idea how a mythical snake trying to devour a baby seal whole can look this sweet.

The rest of the Sirotan item range‘s pretty wide. Toys and stationery are your typical kawaii stuff, and never hard to find. You’ll also discover Sirotan home and room goods, kids’ clothes and outdoor wear, and ‘fabric board’ canvas pics.

Yeah, you can more or less Sirotan your whole life.

Our top picks: wireless Bluetooth speaker, coffee frappuccino squishies, wristwatches with little seal feet, a beer-drinking mini ornament, and the ‘this seal loves chicken nuggets’ T-shirt.

The only time you should ever hunt a baby seal

It’s easy to find and buy Sirotan goods from outside Japan – start with the search results on Rakuten and Yahoo! Shopping outlets.

Order via DEJAPAN, and you won’t pay a service fee or commission for using a Japan shopping proxy.

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