Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Japanese Capsule Toy Maker Profile

Pingmag interviews the creators of the highly-detailed and delightful capsule toys made by Yujin Co. in Japan.
Put a ¥100 coin in the round-shaped vending machine, turn the dial, and out drops a small sphere containing a tiny capsule toy. This very moment of anticipation giving way to excitement (or disappointment over yet the same piece in a collection) will never cease through a capsule toy lover’s entire life! Recently, the Japanese capsule toys have gone way beyond the shapes of anime and manga figurines, and now include special models of all kinds of miniature sculptures, such as insects, toilets, busts – and their variety is truly amazing. All these are the brainchild of capsule toy company Yujin Co. from Tokyo’s neighbourhood of Tadeishi. They come up with twenty-five different products every month, creating hundreds of types for sale in thirty-seven countries. Today PingMag talks to Katsuhiko Onoo, Misayo Ariga, and Chihiro Ishizaki of Yujin’s product planning department.

What is important for turning your ideas into a product?

Katsuhiko Onoo: Of course, the design is important. But also, if we are not having fun with our job, then there is no spirit to a new product, and it doesn’t really catch on. Actually, the ones we just throw out onto the market don’t really last long, while the ones that we think up and decide on ourselves stay on the market.

It is also important that the designer has an intimate knowledge of the toy that is being made. Whether is is an animation character, models of insects, games, whatever. If the person is interested and enthusiastic about the subject, the finished product will be completely different. For example, the designer of our “Japanese Insects in Primary Colors” series wanted to get some specimens of bees to examine, so they went to Okinawa for specimens and actually went out with a net and cage to collect samples. (Laughs)
Yujin Capsule Toys