Why Do Japanese Adults Have Toys?
When you think about toys, Japan is perhaps the first country that springs to mind. Japan is known for having a very strong toy culture and a state-of-the-art toy collection covering a wide range of analog and electronic products, which are incredibly well-made and meticulously designed. Additionally, these Japanese toys have a long history and have contributed significantly to the happiness and pleasure of children and adults alike. In fact, Japan's toy market is constantly changing due to media trends, technological advancements, and fandoms in popular culture.
However, Japanese manufacturers are looking more towards adults to stimulate growth within an aging society characterized by fertility decline and a shrinking population of Japanese children. That said, the Japanese continuously create and maintain collections of various merchandise, such as card games, figurines, plush toys, traditional toys, and gachapon toys, specially catered to adults.
Japanese Toy Market
Japan was the second-largest toy market in the world for a long time. The Japanese toy industry is closely associated with manufacturers that commonly work with different brand owners of industries through subsidiaries and license agreements. Leaders in the Japanese toy industry, like Takara Tomy and Happynet/Bandai, are major examples of profitable toy companies that expanded their product line with licensed goods by purchasing the merchandising rights for several brands. These companies have helped Japan influence international toy franchises, from Pokémon to Power Rangers, Transformers to Tamagotchi, Hello Kitty, and the entire manga subculture. However, some brand creators, like Sanrio Co., Ltd., run their own businesses in the sector and manufacture and sell products based on their intellectual property directly to consumers.
Moreover, the Japanese toy market expanded via amusement centers and regular retail channels. These include prize games like claw cranes, which are key revenue producers at amusement arcades, and exclusive goods like plush toys are frequently offered as rewards in game machines. Toys in this area are providing support to the Japanese toy market thanks to product lines based on well-known mascots and anime characters in Japan. Devoted fans, or "otaku," are driving up demand among adults and opening up new market prospects for anything from character model toys to time-limited figurines sold through capsule toy vending machines or gachapons.
What are Gachapon Capsule Toy Machines?
Gachapon is coin-operated, bright vending machines that are loaded with toy capsule balls, each of which contains a different prize from different licenses. The collectible you receive is normally picked at random from a variety of objects that each machine typically keeps on hand. You might expect that Gachapon prices often include small versions of manga, anime, or video game characters, but nowadays, practically anything may be produced by the Gachapon machine, from various collections of retro toys and miniature Japanese foods to a range of cat-themed caps. Gachapon has recently started to feature more popular toys that may be placed around your computer, smartphone, cup, or desk, luring a wider selection of customers to join the "Gacha."
In addition, these tiny capsule toys not only house a toy but also a compartment for Japanese culture. These gachapon machines represent the depth of Japanese culture positioned along the streets as a visual representation for domestic and global toy audiences. In fact, the toys are of higher quality and are occasionally only available in limited quantities, which you can get for less than 500 yen.
History of Gachapon Machines
Gachapon originated in Japan, even if the capsule toy machine debuted in western countries. When Ryuzo Shigeta, known as "the Grandfather of Gachapon," set up the first Gachapon machine in Japan in the 1960s. These gacha-gacha capsule-toy selling machines were installed in front of neighborhood sweet stores, drawing large groups of kids trying their luck. After that year, the leading company in the toy industry, Bandai Co., trademarks the term "gachapon," radically altering the gachapon market.
Moreover, gachapon, which refers to both the machine and the capsule toys, gained its name from the distinctive sound the machine makes as the toys pop out. "Gacha-gacha" is the sound of the machine handle being cracked, and "Pon" is the sound made as the ball comes out of the machine. As a result, the term "Gachapon" is formed.
Gachapon Toys for Adults
It is no surprise to think that children were the intended audience for the gachapon toys. However, these days, Gachapon has experienced so many waves of popularity, and they are now so trendy among adults that anyone with some spare change can win small toys from the capsule machine. In fact, growth in the gachapon market has coincided with or perhaps even led to their growing appeal toward adults. Aside from the conventional kawaii dolls and Japan's favorite characters, monotonous toy products like wearable cat bonnets and a wide selection of common desk collectibles have been liked by many Japanese adults. Here are more gachapon capsule toy machine prizes perfect for adults and kids-at-heart adults.
1. Fuchico on the Cup
Koppu no Fuchiko (Cup Fuchiko), one of the popular gachapon series. It consists of figurines of a woman with the name Fuchiko on the rim of a cup or glass in a variety of attitudes. Fuchi is a Japanese term that means “the rim of a cup," so the name can basically be translated as “Fuchiko on the cup’s edge.” The fantastic range and lighthearted designs of these gachapons are perfect for collectors' interests.
Manga artist Katsuki Tanaka created the tiny office lady character after she noticed numerous food images on social media. He thought the pictures were dull and wanted to spice them up. After their 2012 release, the figurines swiftly became viral on social media, especially among adults selling millions of copies, and are still widely used on Japanese social media today.
2. Fake foods
Fake food is another gachapon type that appeals to adults very well. This might be one of the creative and amusing ways the Japanese elevate their everyday life. Gachapon toy machines sell even smaller food models that are attached to keychains. Japanese omelets and other authentic Japanese cuisine are available in miniature keychain form because their lovely size makes them tough to resist. You might even be tempted to sample the food just by how good it appears.
Additionally, fake pastries and fruits have also recently gained a lot of popularity. Yet, they are all considered to be in the fake foods gachapon category. Gachapon of this kind might cost anywhere between 100 and 300 yen! Make sure you have enough coins on you because you might need to try a machine a few times before getting the one you desire.
Mannequins are one of the most recent gachapons created by Tokyo-based capsule toy company So-Ta. Mannequins in six different positions poses are sold in tiny capsules dubbed "Nude." You may effortlessly change the poses with each of the mannequin's many ball joints. In addition, there are three colors available: black, white, and stripe, mostly white with blue highlights and bordered in red. It may appear unusual at first, but it can be helpful and fun for artists who need a concrete representation of a human position but cannot afford to purchase the larger ones.
4. Miniature Furniture
Do you need more cuteness in your life? What could be cuter than tiny home furnishings? Similar to realistic food items, capsule toy machines also sell small furniture of all kinds, from workstations to lamps. Any piece of furniture is available in miniature form! People gather these parts to build a small house. It's similar to creating your ideal house in a tiny version. Imagine it as an adult Lego.
5. Bottle Panties
This one may be the strangest so far, but strange things catch on, especially with adults. Gachapons sell disposable panties for your bottle in the same way that vending machines do. No dirty thoughts. It's just a little piece of clothing that you can put on your water bottle's bottom. Since they are so absorbent, it's like a substitute for coasters. They come in a range of colors and designs. Collect every one of these bottle panties, and dress up every bottle you have!
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