by Jenni Chasteen
No one does weird toys like Japan does weird toys… from presidential action figures to toilet training tigers, we’ve found the strangest and most bizarre Japanese toys ever.
Japan certainly has a reputation for strange and interesting handheld games but we’ve never seen anything quite like the Tuttuki Bako Finger Game. Each stage features something you interact with by poking it. Stick your finger in the box and a digital representation appears on the screen mimicking your motions. From what we can tell the various stages of the game include terrorizing a tiny stick man, poking a girl in the face and flicking a tiny panda.
If you can buy soccer playing robot dogs, why not a skittish robotic cockroach? The Hex Bug emulates a roach with feelers or sensors that tell it when to change direction when it hits a wall. They also react to loud sounds by scurrying away in fear. We can only imagine that they also scatter when you turn on the light. To try to make bugs seem cute, the Hex Bugs are available in blue, pink, green, yellow and orange.
Kids love little keychains of cute little animals, but we think anatomically correct diagrams of animals may cross a line. The Gotochi Dissection animals display a diagram of the muscles and organs inside of a variety of animals including fish, pigs, cows and even a panda. All the parts are labeled, in Japanese of course. We suppose they could be used as tiny “cheat sheets” in Japanese biology classes, but we can’t figure out any other possible reasons to want one.
Much like the sensation one gets from popping bubble wrap, there’s something satisfying about popping edamame from their pods. Rather than playing with your food, Japanese toy maker Bandai developed a toy that provides endless tactile enjoyment without wasting a single soybean. 3 soybeans to a pod, the middle one contains a surprise face. If playing with toy beans isn’t enough excitement, you can try to collect 12 characters or the illusive Edamame Fairy.
Because literally everything in Japan is actually a robot… This strange all knowing Japanese toy debuted in the 80′s and answered your questions in a magic 8-ball style. God-Jesus robot only knows what the designers of this toy were thinking when they made it.
We don’t know what kind of crazy new age japanese technology is involved in the Lokuloku, a squishable pig toy, but we’re absolutely mesmerized by this thing. No matter what you do to this toy it always bounces back and retains it shape… even after being completely flattened and turned into a puddle of gold goo.
Sort of a evolution of the virtual pet on a screen, the Roboco is a pet with a screen for a face. Though we never would have guessed that after the Tamagotchi craze that Japan could create a handheld pet that’s even more annoying. Roboco mimics your emotions, so when you yell at it in frustration it yells back and throws a tantrum. Sure, it has other emotions, but we just don’t see ourselves doing anything other than yelling at it.
If you’re got a few thousand yen ($208) and a hefty case of narcissism then you might consider getting on of these Grand Chariot doppelganger figurines. Sure, it’s kind of cool to capture yourself forever in a plastic figure, but then again, it’s also kind of creepy (as shown by the models here).
Texting may be out of control in the US, but at least we don’t have emoticon toys. These weird little characters display Japanese emoticons known as kaomiji. You don’t have to know Japanese to understand the expressions on their creepy little dolls… in fact American otaku probably already recognize most of these and even use them on a daily basis.
Kankichi Ryotsu stars in his own comic in Japan and despite his friendly appearance, he’s actually a lazy pervert who’s always getting himself into unsavory situations. Not surprisingly the accessories that come with the Ryotsu figure include things like handcuffs and a firearm, but he also has his very own Tamagotchi pet… because what adult police officer would be without one?
Inspired by the phrase “fish out of water” Japanese designer Yoskay Yamamoto created this strange pop art toy. The head of the toy resembles a koi or goldfish, but has a much more human body. Well to be technical, it has a fish body too. We’re actually not really sure what to make of this figure, but we do know that we’re a little creeped out by it.
We know that it seems strange to include a President Obama action figure in a list of Japanese toys, but believe it or not this all American figure is made in Japan. Barak Obama apparently has inspired somewhat of a cult following in Japan so it’s really no surprise a toy tribute would spring up. The figure includes an American flag, a stool, several ties and a mic stand… katanas and lightsabers not included (we think).
Maybe it’s us… maybe the way we approach potty training in the US is a bit conservative, but on the other hand Japan seems to have the weirdest approach we could possibly imagine, complete with animated poop and talking toilets. The Shimajiro videos feature an animated tiger struggling with potty training and his animated personified waste. The accompanying toy attaches to the toilet paper roll holder and yells out encouraging phrases while you go.
Of all the strange Japanese toys, this one may take the cake. We have to be careful not to type the letter H too often in this post because H-Bouya will call us perverts. You see, in Japan, “H” or “ecchi” stands for “hentai” which is the word for porn in Japanese. The innocent baby boy will blink whenever you type that forbidden letter because it implies that your intentions are less than pure. Uh-oh, how many was that?
Top photo by luisvilla
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