Not Just for Kids: The 2013 International Tokyo Toy Show
In June 2013 the International Tokyo Toy Show was held at Tokyo Big Sight in the city’s Odaiba area. Participating in the event were 148 toymakers from Japan and other countries around the world, displaying around 35,000 products in total. More than 140,000 people, including families and toy fanatics, visited on the two days open to the general public.
Japanese Toys for the Kid at Heart
According to Tsuda Hiroshi, director of the Japan Toy Association, which hosted the event, Japanese toys have four basic characteristics.
First, there is a strong tendency in Japan for toys to be modeled after things popular among adults. One example of this is the toys related to the Tokyo Skytree tower, which opened in 2012, and in 2013 there have been many toys designed along the lines of a tablet computer.
The second characteristic is the cutting-edge technology featured in many Japanese toys.
The third characteristic is the large amount of blocks and puzzles among Japanese toys. These often consist of challenging games that test the wits of not only kids but adults as well—and they are also used as items for home decorating.
Familiar Faces from the Character World
And the fourth characteristic is an emphasis on character-related toys. Toys featuring characters from TV programs and the like continue to be popular in Japan.
Because Japanese toys have these four characteristics, Tsuda notes, they can also appeal to adults. Japan’s low birthrate means fewer kids, so toymakers need to come up with products that can appeal to people across generational lines.
(Original Japanese article by Yanagisawa Miho.)