THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
June 9, 2023 at 18:53 JST
Attendees at this year's International Tokyo Toy Show will be greeted with an offering of more inclusive toys that reflect the changing times.
Many of the companies at the show, which will be held at Tokyo Big Sight convention center in the capital’s Koto Ward on June 10 and 11, are embracing diversity and inclusion and also adopting digital technology.
At the exhibition, which will be open to the public for the first time in four years, 156 toy companies will exhibit about 35,000 of their latest products.
Among the oldies that offer a twist include Tomy Co.'s the Game of Life, which launched the eighth generation of the traditional favorite in April.
Since the first generation of the Game of Life was released in 1968, getting married was a must for every player in the game.
In the latest version, however, if players get an even number on the roulette, they get married in the game.
If they get an odd number, they don’t get married.
The game also used to offer game pegs only in pink or light blue to represent a person.
But the latest version offers six colors with white, red, green and yellow joining the traditional pink and light blue.
“We would like players to freely choose their colors without being restricted by ideas about gender,” said a company official.
In addition, one of the descriptions of life events for the board game used to say, “A baby boy is born” or something similar.
The company has changed this to, “A child has come along.”
The changes are in response to how people’s ideas about lives and family values have diversified and the fact that some people raise children without getting married.
Tomy Co. also began offering a set of school uniforms for its popular Licca-chan doll this spring that includes both a skirt and a pair of pants.
The company says this is because more schools are offering a choice of skirts or pants for female students.
Another company, Pilot Corp., will release a "rabbit wheelchair" for its Mell-chan doll this summer.
The company made the toy wheelchair with rabbit illustrations on it after it heard from wheelchair users that they had no toy wheelchairs when they were children.
Children can play with the wheelchair by sitting the Mell-chan doll in it.
The wheelchair has a brake and a belt that are designed to look like real ones.
Digitalization is another new trend in toys.
Tamagotchi is a game in which players “raise” a virtual pet. It became extremely popular after Bandai Co. released it in 1996.
The company will release its latest version, called TamagotchiUni, on July 15.
It will be the first Tamagotchi with Wi-Fi connectivity.
With the TamagotchiUni, players can have their Tamagotchi interact with other Tamagotchi raised by fellow players around the world in a metaverse site called the Tamaverse.
Sega Toys Co. will release a new toy personal computer at the end of June.
With this product and the accompanying headset, children can simulate live streaming.
Another new toy the company is offering is called the #BazuyuCam, which is a toy camera accompanied with a selfie stick. Children can create a vlog, or video blog, with the product.
The two new toys cannot be connected to the internet, which means users can safely mimic YouTubers or influencers, which children nowadays are increasingly admiring.
The domestic toy market reached 952.5 billion yen ($6.8 billion) in fiscal 2022, an amount not seen since fiscal 2001 when the collection of comparable data started, according to the Japan Toy Association.
The market has been expanding thanks to the popularity of card games.
(This article was written by Yoko Masuda and Kentaro Uechi.)
Visit this page for the latest news on Japan’s battle with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Cooking experts, chefs and others involved in the field of food introduce their special recipes intertwined with their paths in life.
Here is a collection of first-hand accounts by “hibakusha” atomic bomb survivors.
The Asahi Shimbun aims “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” through its Gender Equality Declaration.
Let’s explore the Japanese capital from the viewpoint of wheelchair users and people with disabilities with Barry Joshua Grisdale.