Nintendo’s Yo-Kai Watch, a role-playing game that was a cultural phenomenon in Japan for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, is coming to the U.S. The title launched in 2013, became a top-seller, and beyond video games, manga, and anime TV shows, has generated more than $1 billion in retail sales of toys and other merchandise in Japan.
Coinciding with the global launch of the puzzle game app, LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum from Japan, the Disney Store is introducing more than 30 different stackable Tsum Tsum soft toys. They are available on DisneyStore.com, in select store locations in North America, and at Disney parks. Characters such as Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh are available now, and additional characters will roll out this fall.
The stackable Tsum Tsum toys have a screen cleaner material on their stomachs and come in three different sizes: large, medium, and mini.
FAO Schwarz will convert three towers in the Grand Hall of its New York flagship store into a Rilakkuma destination for the month of October. Over the past decade, the Rilakkuma brand and its characters have become a key part of Japanese culture and the essence of the Kawaii lifestyle, which emphasizes cuteness and adorableness.
FAO Schwarz currently carries a variety of plush Rilakkuma product in its flagship store and online at fao.com. To celebrate the brand’s shop-within-a-shop launching in October, FAO Schwarz will expand its product assortment to include Kigurumis, hats, cell phone cases, ear buds, graphic t-shirts, and new plush items.
Toy State has secured the worldwide rights to Nikko by acquiring the consolidated operations of its Japan and Hong Kong offices. Toy State has also acquired Nikko Entertainment BV, the European arm of the company’s R/C toy category.
Nikko manufactures R/C toys, from custom vehicles, boats, and flying items to an array of preschool R/C toys. These toys are marketed through licensing partnerships with global automakers, as well as brands such as Transformers, Hello Kitty, Fast & Furious, and Angry Birds.
The acquisition expands Toy State’s presence to Amsterdam and Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, the location of its current headquarters. The acquisition will also serve as a platform for the company’s continued expansion into Europe. Toy State’s U.S. office is located in Boston.
So Japan has toys that are compelling enough for grown-ups to enjoy? Figures. No, I mean action figures. As I mentioned in part one of this commentary last week, Japan has some of the coolest action figures on the planet, and much of why has to do with that country’s toy-buying market, which skews older than, say, in the U.S.
However, a lot of that sophistication is now making its way over to this country, in the form of toys that are either imported from Japan, or have their roots there. Some are kids’ items that have double appeal among older audiences, while others are purposefully aimed at grown-ups. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, of course, as any toy can appeal to lots of different demographics for varying reasons. However, we have a feeling adults will want to get their hands on these particular figures once they’ve cleared customs–probably even more so than kids will.
This spring, Funko will introduce its new line of Hikari Japanese Vinyl figures, which are inspired by the vinyl “kaiju” figures that have developed a considerable following among collectors in Japan. [Read more...]
This Saturday, the world of Rilakkuma will take over FAO Schwarz in New York City. Rilakkuma, created by San-X, is one of Japan’s most popular characters, famous for its “bear in relaxed mood” lifestyle of eating, sleeping, and listening to music.
Consumers will have the opportunity to celebrate Rilakkuma Day and interact with a life-size Rilakkuma mascot and branded Lolita girls. There will also be merchandise giveaways while supplies last. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at FAO Schwarz Flagship Store, 767 5th Ave., New York, NY.
Big Tent Entertainment, the licensing agent for Japanese pop culture icon Domo, has enlisted the support of its partners to launch a charity initiative to help raise funds for the victims of last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The company has teamed up with Fifth Sun to create two special designs featuring Domo and incorporating jewelry designer Udi Behr’s LOVE + PEACE + HOPE message. The designs will be featured on special-edition Domo merchandise with proceeds going to the Japan Society, an American nonprofit organization dedicated to the cultivation of a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan. One hundred percent of all funds contributed to the Japan’s Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund will be given to organizations that directly help victims from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In addition to Fifth Sun’s participation, Domo licensees including Concept One, Hot Properties Merchandising, Music Skins, Coveroo, and Virtual Greats digital partners WeeMee and Meez have already come on board to support the effort. Each licensee will create special-edition Domo products featuring the LOVE + PEACE + HOPE designs.