Miffy, Bugs and Playboy

Feb 02, 2011
*Special to asia!

It’s the Chinese Year of the Rabbit! To celebrate all that is fluffy and floppy, we bring you 12 of the world’s most famous bunnies.



12. White Rabbit (Eastern)

White Rabbit sweets are familiar to most of us who grew up in East Asia. Part of the charm of this made-in-China confection was that its inner translucent wrapper was edible – it dissolved in your mouth. In 2008, White Rabbit was embroiled in the melamine contamination scandal, and supermarkets all over the world pulled it from their shelves. Today, White Rabbit is often marketed as Golden Rabbit.


11. White Rabbit (Western)

"Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" is the refrain of the waist-coated White Rabbit of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is he who leads Alice down the rabbit-hole. Another Carroll bunny is the March Hare, who pops up at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.


10. Miffy

People around the world are familiar with the image of Miffy, the plaintive-looking rabbit with an X for its mouth, though they may not know where she comes from. Miffy is the main character of a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. She was born in 1955.


9. Duracell Bunny

Yes, it’s that battery-powered pink toy bunny that keeps banging on its little drum, long after all competing bunnies have stopped. The first Duracell bunny appeared in 1973 and pre-dates the Energizer Bunny, which was actually created as a parody.


8. Brer Rabbit

Children in Asia are probably most familiar with the Brer in Enid Blyton stories, the rascally rabbit who gets out of many a scrape by using his wits. But the bunny’s first book appearance – as Br’er Rabbit – is in Joel Chandler Harris’s 19th century Uncle Remus series, itself drawn from African American and Native American folktales.


7. My Melody

No, we have no idea either if this bunny’s name is “My Melody” or just “Melody”, but we all know her by sight – she’s the only famous rabbit to have fitted headgear, in the form of a two-pronged pink hat. My Melody is the creation of Japanese company Sanrio, home also of Hello Kitty. My Melody’s birthday, we are told, is on January 18.


6. Roger Rabbit

Which rabbit is more famous, Roger or Jessica? We pick Roger, if only because he’s actually a rabbit, while his va-va-voom wife Jessica is human. Neither of them is real, of course, being central characters in Disney’s 1988 animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Roger first found life in Gary K. Wolf’s book Who Censored Roger Rabbit?


5. The Hare (and the Tortoise)

We all know the Aesop’s fable of how the Tortoise, slow and steady, wins the race against the Hare. The character of the Hare, so sure of winning that he stops for a nap, is usually taken as a warning against over-confidence. In 1915, Edward Plunkett wrote a satire in which the Hare, realising the stupidity of the challenge, quits the race halfway.


4. Peter Rabbit

Rabbits seemed to multiply in the hands of Beatrix Potter. Besides Peter Rabbit, her most famous creation, there are also Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail, not to mention Benjamin Bunny and the six Flopsy Bunnies. The bucolic Tale of Peter Rabbit follows the mischievous Peter as he is chased around by Mr McGregor. Peter finally gets home, where his mother serves him a cup of chamomile tea.


3. Playboy Bunny Or rather, the Playboy Bunny logo (you can surf for Playboy bunnies yourself).

The symbol not only of Playboy magazine but the entire Playboy empire, there is no doubt that the elegant black graphic of a tuxedo-clad bunny has helped smarten up, somewhat, the image of Hugh Hefner’s company.


2. Easter Bunny

According to legend, this bunny brings baskets filled with coloured eggs, candy and toys to children on the night before Easter. The rabbit and the hare are ancient fertility symbols, and may explain why a bunny came to be attached to the Christian celebration of eternal life.


1. Bugs Bunny

This carrot-chomping creation who stands on his hind legs really needs to introduction. The star of Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes series, he belongs to the golden age of American animation. In 2002, beloved Bugs was named the greatest cartoon character of all time.


Vote for your favourite rabbit in our online poll.

Which bunnies have we missed out? Tell us below!

clarissa tanClarissa is a journalist who focuses on travel and the arts. As a desperately hopeful author, she writes short stories and is working on a novel. Clarissa won the Spectator’s final Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing.

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