Tokyo Toy Show indulges dreams of children, adults
Stars and Stripes August 2, 2009
The 48th annual International Tokyo Toy Show was a child’s dream come true.
Surrounded by thousands upon thousand of toys, girls decorated picture frames with sparkly rhinestones and boys talked into a microphone to command the flight of a toy helicopter.
In an other area of the show, an exhibitor could be found demonstrating how to make cotton candy out of everyday sweets with a new gizmo available in stores now.
More than 130 companies gathered to showcase the latest — and some yet-to-be released — toys during the July 16-19 expo at Tokyo Big Sight.
But the show wasn’t just about trying out new toys. Crowds danced with Calico Critters and cheered when actors dressed as action heroes defeated villains during a show.
"Shinkengers were cool," said Airi Shimizu, 5, who came with her parents and brother. Shinkengers are samurai warriors and are the latest version of Power Ranger-type action heroes.
But Airi’s brother Tsubasa, 9, preferred anime characters. "I like Gundum," he said, showing off a miniature robot figure he bought at the show.
His father Masahiro, 36, was also excited to check out the latest Gundum plastic model figures. The Gundum characters and television show was created 30 years ago.
The show was an opportunity for the parents to be kids again. "Even adults like toys," said the 31-year-old mother, Akiko.
"The mainstream toys that are the ‘toy among toys’ are capturing attention currently as the toys that can withstand recession," stated an overview of this year’s show compiled by the Japan Toy Association.
Some toys that are currently leading the industry are ones that have been around for decades, but have been modified to fit the current market, it stated.
In fact, among those displayed at the expo were digital cameras made with Legos — yes, the cameras actually take photos — and radio-controlled cars that can drive across water.
Rikako Yamaguchi, 6, said she liked Rika chan dolls, a Barbie-like doll which debuted in 1967.
Her father Masahiro, 38, said he grew up with Gundum.
"Here, small children as well as adults can have fun."