Children all over the world idolize at least one TV or comic book character at some point while growing up. For everyone who gets a rush of excitement whenever they fondly recall their favorite childhood character toys, we’d like to introduce you to a must-see event that’s currently going on in Tokyo’s Odaiba district: the “Nostalgic Toy Great Exhibition” (懐かしのおもちゃ大博覧会)!
This event is a massive display of classic Japanese character toys that date from the Showa period (1926-1989) to the present day. Everything from ultra rare vintage tinplate toys from the 1960s to Sailor Moon figurines from the 2010s are on display, for a grand total of approximately 2,000 toys. On top of that, photography is permitted—it’s truly a toy lover’s paradise!
■ The Nostalgic Toy Great Exhibition
The exhibition is currently taking place at Odaiba’s DECKS Tokyo Beach facility. The approximately 2,000 items on display are taken from the personal collection of prominent Japanese toy collector Masao Wakafuji.
▼ Visitors can watch a video of Mr. Wakafuji speaking about the exhibition. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his collection is equatable to a definitive history of Japanese character toys in itself.
From the 1960s to the present day, the toys are displayed in decade installments. Their various shapes, sizes, and colors lend themselves to a whimsical atmosphere which we’d venture to say feels not unlike stepping into a giant toy box.
▼ The cases are organized by decade
▼ Here are some vintage toys from the 1960s
▼ Here are some highlights from the 1970s
■ Ultra rare toys are right in front of you
The cases are loaded with so many toys that our Japanese reporter felt overwhelmed at first. But upon closer inspection, she realized that almost all of the toys contained within are considered to be rare collectibles today. In fact, there’s an ultra rare toy as soon as you walk in—a large model of Tetsujin 28-go (known in English as “Gigantor”), of which there are said to be only three in existence in Japan:
▼ Ultraman is also ready to greet you at the entrance.
▼ He’s actually over two meters (6.5 feet) tall!
Besides the large model, our reporter also discovered a small tin toy of Ultraman, which was recently appraised as being worth 1.5 million yen (US$12,544) on Japanese TV show Kaiun! Nandemo kanteidan. Holy guacamole!
There was also a life-sized Cyclone bike from Kamen Rider. Anyone feel like going for a spin?
▼ Kamen Rider cards
■ Photography is allowed everywhere
For Meg, our Japanese reporter, the 1980s through the 2000s hold her fondest memories of character toys. She got excited just looking at classic toys from Urusei Yatsura and Special Rescue Police Winspector (a Japanese tokusatsu TV show from the early ’90s), so it was equally exciting to learn that she could take pictures of anything to view later. Many similar types of exhibitions don’t allow photography at all, so this one in Odaiba is truly a jackpot.
▼ Photography is okay!
▼ Urusei Yatsura‘s Lum-chan
▼ Special Rescue Police Winspector
She often found herself thinking, “Hey, I had this one!” or “That’s the one I really wanted!” Even if certain toys are virtually impossible to obtain nowadays, she was ecstatic to be able to see them in person up close and to take pictures as mementos. In fact, she was so touched that she wanted to thank Mr. Wakafuji for bringing his collection to Tokyo all the way from Ehime Prefecture.
■ The exhibition can be enjoyed by three generations at once
No matter how people grow, they’re more than likely to have fond memories of certain toys from their youths. That feeling of happiness doesn’t change as a person ages and is able to look back fondly on his or her childhood playthings.
Spanning a collection of 50 years, the exhibit in Odaiba has toys from all genres that are sure to please every member of your family, regardless of age or sex. Forget going with just your kids; take your own parents along to see it as well!
The exhibition runs until Monday, September 28, which gives those interested a little under than a week to get over to Odaiba. In addition, for two consecutive days on September 21st and 22nd, Mr. Wakafuji will be there from 3 p.m. onwards to participate in a toy appraisal contest. This could be your favorite vintage toy’s time to shine!
Here are a few more snapshots to promote the exhibition:
▼ Another toy from the 1980s
▼ The 1990s
▼ The 2000s
▼ Just check out the artistic detail that went into this oversized Kinnikuman model!
▼ The event was also offering a “Toy Lottery” for 300 yen ($2.50) a pop.
▼ Our reporter got this mini clock as the fourth-place prize.
▼ Lastly, here’s a promotional poster for the exhibition.
Nostalgic Toy Great Exhibition/懐かしのおもちゃ大博覧会
Address: DECKS plaza, Seaside Mall 3rd floor, 1-6-1 DECKS Odaiba Beach, Minato-ku, Tokyo
東京都港区 1−6−1 デックスお台場ビーチ シーサイドモール3F デックス広場
Duration: September 4th-September 28th
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Admission: Junior high school students and older: 500 yen ($4.17); elementary school students and under: 300 yen ($2.50)
All photos © RocketNews24
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