TUJ student Adam Glazer is reporting this semester from Tokyo. His second report is on Japan’s interest in toys, and interest that spans all age groups, and in some cases, is definitely not for children.
Tokyo is well known for many things, should toys be one of them? There are many idiosyncrasies to this city. But for toy enthusiasts, this particular one must be nearly overwhelming.
“It’s weird to see toys so acceptable for adults, I guess, it is is what it is,” said Alex Galambos, a Temple University Japan. “It’s just very different from how it is in America.”
One does not have to travel far to find impressive toys, most convenience stores sell some. But no district in the city has a greater collection and variety than the attention grabbing anime and video epicenter of Akihabara.
Most of the toys are of popular, or even obscure, anime, movie and video game characters. But there is also a dark side to these toys. Some toys are rather explicit, and yet they are prominently displayed next to the more mundane toys such as Goku from Dragon Ball Z.
Tokyo is also home to the biggest toy of them all: the 60 foot statue of Gundam from the immensely popular and long-running Gundam series. He now stands in the man-made island of Odaiba in Tokyo Harbor after being relocated several times. The statue attracts crowds from all over and emits steam, lights up and moves its head.
“The toy shops…are really neat because you have these stores where its just these walls and shelves and glass cases with tons of toys and figurines that will range from a couple hundred yen to what would be the equivalent of a couple hundred dollars” said Galambos.
Watch for Adam’s reports from Tokyo all semester long on Temple Update and templeupdate.com