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The secret of Dunno

Posted 27/6/2017

Do you know who is Dunno, Mursilka, Dude or Paru-chan? We didn’t know, but now can tell you about them.
Recently shop SovietDacha received a request for a book of Russian author Nikolay Nosov "Dunno adventures" published in Soviet era with illustrations by Alexei Laptev.
Dunno's Adventures by Nosov with Laptev's illustrationsDunno's Adventures by Nosov with Laptev's illustrations

































We found this book and shipped it to Japan. The buyer of the book, and now the friend of our shop told us the story that formed the basis of this article for you.

So, he was so kind and wrote us these words:
"There used to be a very poplar Russian cake company in Japan. The name was Parnasse and Mr. Kokado,the president of the company is from my city (Kasai City) and studied about Russian cakes in your country. Unfortunately the compay was closed in 2002, but the CM was on air enthusuastically among the western Japan until 1980s. Japanese people in the area (over forty years old) never forget the CM in our heart. The company's character was Paru-chan and the boy vividly reminds us of our 1970-1980 era. When we studied the history of the character, we recognized the boy is completely similar to the Laptev's illustration of the book. We found the photo of the book among Mr. Kokado's collections which were contributed to our city. Then, I happened to arrive at you! How lucky we are! He passed away 13 years ago, but we are eager to meet the original of Paru-chan in your book."
Russian Dunno was so popular in Japan and we didn’t know anything about it! There were toys, cards and a lot of promotion matireals with him!
Paru-chan, Dunno Paru-chan, Dunno















Our new friend sent to our Museum several exhibits from Japan. It's a postcard and a plastic envelope for papers with a picture of Paru-chan

Paru-chan, Dunno, NosovParu-chan, Dunno, Nosov



















This boy runs to another side and dressed in another colors, but it's him! Neznaika, Dunno from the Soviet book!
We tried to find info in Internet about Parnasse,  Mr. Kokado or Paru-chan, but were failed.

However, we found that Nikolay Nosov was not the first who came up with this little character.
The history of the know-nothings boy began in 1879, when Palmer Cox from Canada has created a series of drawings of a young man brownie (Brownie) – an increase of about 90 centimeters, with unkempt brown hair and bright blue eyes. Because of the brown hair they are called brownies.

Palmer Cox and his BrowniePalmer Cox and his Brownie













Brownie appeared in 1881 year in the magazine "Wide Awake" and became popular around the world. Brownie became almost the first commercial fairy-tale characters – their images were used in advertising by such companies as Procter & Gamble or Kodak.

Brownie and KodakBrownie and Kodak




























Little people in Cox’s books had nicknames describing their character. One of them- silly but fun characters named Dude (Stupid). He tells the story about the adventures of little men in every book.
Later, in 1887, in the Russian journal "Sincere word" appeared the tale of Anna Khvolson "Tom thumb, girl of a nail size" with illustrations by Palmer Cox. Anna Hvolson translated the tale of Palmer and added to them the boy - journalist, calling him Murzilka. This character used in  Soviet children journals and publications and was very popular.
Mursilka, Dunno, Anna KhvolstonMursilka, Dunno, Anna Khvolston








Nikolai Nosov published his story "Neznayka and his friends" in the Ukrainian journal "Periwinkle" in Ukrainian language in 1953.
Then followed the publication in Russian language that made Nosov rich and famous.
Hero Dunno was a fashionable little man, a dandy of the 50s, dressed in a bright orange shirt, yellow pants, fancy tie and a huge hat.
This Dunno was created by artist Alexey Laptev for Nosov’s book, first published in 1958. The book was many times reprinted, has won the hearts of readers.
This book also conquered the heart of Japanese Mr. Kokado, who studied culinary arts in the Soviet Union. After returning to Japan, he created Parnasse company that sold Russian cakes, the brand of which became Paru-chan.

Paru-chan in Japan, Parnasse and Mr. KokadoParu-chan in Japan, Parnasse and Mr. Kokado