SAN FRANCISCO — New People invites holiday shoppers to add a fun dose of “kawaii” (cute) to their seasonal lists with the latest product line-ups of the popular character series Rilakkuma — adorable, soft plush bears that are one of the most popular and successful character franchises to sweep Japan and other Asian countries over the past 10 years

Rilakkuma (a combination of the Japanese pronunciation of “relax” and the Japanese word for “bear”) have become one of the most successful kawaii characters ever to be launched in Japan. New People, The Store has partnered with Laugh Laugh, one of the largest and biggest-grossing online distributors of Rilakkuma collectibles in Japan, to offer a range of the latest products, as well as a variety of rare and highly sought-after designs.

The bears range in price from $18 to $280, depending on size and design. Many other related Rilakkauma items are also for sale, ranging from apparel and stationery to other collectibles. The bears are available to shoppers nationwide on New People’s web store:

“Rilakkuma represents the heart of Japanese ‘kawaii’ sensitivity and the strength of the Japanese character market worldwide,” says Seiji Horibuchi, founder of New People Inc. “We have an extensive collection of latest and rare Rilakkuma products in stock and available at the most reasonable prices outside of Japan at our San Francisco retail location, as well as to customers nationwide on our website. Rilakkuma are the perfect companion for the holidays and their cute, soft and plushy presence will surely warm the hearts of everyone they meet.”

First designed and produced by the Japanese company San-X, Rilakkuma will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2013. To date, more than 10,000 different items based on these popular characters, including plush toys, stationery, picture books and video games, have been produced by over 100 manufacturers in Japan.

A variety of unique and inventive pop culture-inspired products from Japan are now available – just in time for the holidays – on the New People website and also inside New People, The Store, the colorful and eclectic retail space located on the mezzanine level of the 20,000-square-foot entertainment complex located in the heart of San Francisco’s historic Japantown at 1746 Post St.

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