It's hard to deny that spectators the world over sat up and paid attention during the opening ceremony of the major sporting event that took place in Japan during summer 2021, especially when human pictograms took to the stage with their entertaining routine!
This short but powerful performance has given many people the chance to become more aware of the ubiquitous picture portraits known as pictograms and what they represent.
It was so well-received that parodies of all sorts have already taken social media by storm in Japan. Foremost of them all are the hilariously relatable "Child-rearing Pictograms."
Curious yet? Or are you still trying to figure out what a pictogram actually is? Let's take a closer look at them in the context of the recent child-rearing pictograms craze and see if they truly live up to the hype!
Excuse me, but what are pictograms?
Pictograms, or pictographs as they're sometimes called, are graphic signs that convey information through pictorial representations of the word or concept they're meant to portray. Generally, people use terms such as emoji or word pictures to refer to such symbols as well.
Being able to convey information that can be understood with just one glance is the most important objective of a pictogram. And that is why you can find pictograms in almost any corner of the world!
For example, some of the more common signs that can be spotted in Japan are also used around the world, such as the exit sign, male and female toilet signs, no-smoking sign, Wi-Fi available sign, and laundry labels.
Did you know that the exit sign recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the world standard was actually designed in Japan?
If you surf the internet, you may also recognize some pictograms that have started to gain more popularity online as well.
Icons linked to a home page usually feature a house symbol. Settings are generally pictured as a gear. The search button is almost always a magnifying glass. And these are just some of the more prominent examples.
Did Japan start the pictogram trend?!
As you can see, pictograms have become deeply embedded in the lives of people from all around the world, and it is said that Japan was one of the major factors behind its modern push. It all started from a major international sporting event held in Tokyo in 1964.
At that time, the Japanese public was not yet very familiar with English and other foreign languages, so they wanted to create signs that could be easily understood by people of all nations with a single glance.
Signs that would convey information about directions, facilities, sporting events, and other essential services.
The result of that effort? Pictograms!
The pictograms created for the event were so efficient that even after it ended, these pictograms continued to be widely used in facilities such as public transportation, communal institutes, and various bathhouses around town, especially from the 1970s onwards.
And this year, in 2021, the pictograms literally came to life in the form of an entertaining human pictogram performance that has become a hot topic for discussion on social media.
While the idea was revolutionary, the performance itself was just an old-fashioned reenactment of each pictogram. Despite this striking imbalance between concept and execution, people from around the world loved the show! It may even have given birth to a new "pictogram entertainment" genre altogether as a result.
Totally relatable child-rearing pictograms
Inspired by the success of the human pictogram performance, individuals have taken to social media to deliver their own versions with a mundane spin. Enter the child-rearing pictograms! As its name suggests, these pictograms depict scenes of a parent routinely caring for their child.
Behold the child-rearing pictograms that have been making the rounds on social media in all their glory!
Turning Child-rearing Scenes Into Sporting Event Pictograms
First of all, check out えぽさん (Eposan's) (@aiuepo615) post here:.
Entitled "Momolympics (Dadolympics) 2020 Sporting Events", the tweet contained a few common child-rearing scenes converted into delightful sports-style pictograms.
The sporting events featured are: Shopping (with a child), Shopping (with 2 children), Childlifting, Changing Clothes, Changing Diapers, Throwing Food, and Catching Food - a total of seven. If you've ever had to take care of a child before, you would definitely find this series of events both very humorous and highly relatable.
Take a look at the English version that was uploaded after a follower requested it:
The Terrible Twos Pictogram Series
This post, by 星田つまみさん (Hoshida Tsumami-san) (@Ririshiku_Uruou) is another one to pay attention to.
Entitled "The Terrible Twos Pictogram Series," it features scenes of a toddler at about two years of age. They are: No!, Nnno!, Carry!, Put down!, Don't wanna sleep!, Don't wanna bath!, Don't wanna eat!, and I want that! - a total of eight scenes.
The pictograms perfectly encapsulate why this period of time of a child's growth is aptly known as the Terrible Twos.
This is the age where children start developing a sense of self and will try to say "No!" to certain things. These pictograms are bound to give everyone - especially those who have ever raised a child through their Terrible Twos period before a good chortle or two.
The resurgence of the humble pictogram
Being able to immediately understand the meaning behind its graphic symbol is what makes a lot of people appreciate pictograms.
It's very likely that these little icons will start seeing even more use in the near future because of their uncanny ability to effortlessly break through all language barriers.
The truth is, the pictogram entertainment format is already spilling over into other categories as well, besides child-rearing.
Don't be surprised to see even more popping up on your social media feed soon, and don't resist it! Just sit back and enjoy the ride!
English translation by: Huimin Pan
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