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HELSINKI: Besides saunas and Nokia cellphones, it may very well be Finland's most successful export item ever: The Moomin universe, peopled by a group of bulky, white creatures resembling hippos. A century after the birth of their creator, the late Tove Jansson, the odd charm of the quirky Moomin books and cartoons has won over millions in all age groups and dozens of languages from Czech to Chinese, Estonian to Esperanto. The world was quite a different place when Moomin creator Jansson was born into a family of artists on Aug. 9, 1914, when Finland was still ruled by the Russian tsar."The Japanese version is more fun – less dark – than the original," said Yamaguchi, the Yokohama fan.Her annual trip includes a stop at Moomin World, a theme park in southern Finland visited by hundreds of thousands each year.
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