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'Sesame Street' Is Debuting an Asian American Muppet

Daniel Hautzinger
Cookie Monster, Elmo, Ji-Young, Tamir, Abby Cadabby, and Big Bird. Image: Sesame Workshop
Ji-Young is the newest Muppet on 'Sesame Street.' Image: Sesame Workshop

There's a new resident on Sesame Street: Ji-Young, a seven-year-old Korean American girl who loves skateboarding and playing her electric guitar, as well as tteokbokki, chewy rice cakes. She will be the first Asian American Muppet on Sesame Street, developed in part in response to a recent uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Ji-Young will debut in See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special, which will premiere Thanksgiving Day and be available to watch via PBS KIDS. The special will also feature prominent Asian celebrities such as Simu Liu of Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, cook and television personality Padma Lakshmi, and tennis player Naomi Osaka, among others.

Ji-Young's puppeteer is Kathleen Kim, who has been working with Sesame Street since 2014 and helped develop Ji-Young. The Muppet's name means smart or wise ("Ji") and brave or courageous and strong ("Young"), but "Ji" also means "sesame"—the perfect name for a character on Sesame Street!

You can watch Ji-Young join her friends Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Tamir in the Best Friends Band before her big debut on Thanksgiving.