The influence of Japanese Culture into Bearbricks
As seen on previous posts from our blog, Bearbricks are not just toys. They are art and a representation of pop culture today. But not only pop culture, traditions are well portrayed in these bears' bodies.
In this article, we will make a review about the Japan History and Culture embodied in the Medicom Toy Platform. From the most common size of 100% to the biggest 1000%, there are a lot of cultural features from the land of the rising sun to discover.
One of the most popular icons from Japan is the Maneki Neko or Lucky Cat. They are called to bring the fortune to the owner and so they’re a perfect acquisition for your collection. The figure usually depicts a cat with a raised beckoning paw.
For the Medicom Toy platform, the bear turns into a cat and bring us joy and fortune too.
The different range of colours for the Maneki Neko Bearbricks is huge. From gold to pink, red and white, they come in different face expressions. You can even find Peko Chan, another famous japanese character, wearing some Maneki Neko costumes.
If the Maneki Neko is a very popular cultural icon, Daruma is not behind. Daruma is a rounded japanese budist doll. They typically have bearded faces inspired in Bodhidharma.
People consider Darumas a talisman of perseverance and good luck. When purchased, the figure's eyes are both blank white. A user will then think on a goal or wish and paint in the left eye. Once the desired goal is achieved, the right eye should be filled in as the Daruma has helped you in order to be able to have his second eye.
Though the red is the trendiest Daruma colour, there are also more varieties included on the Daruma Bearbricks: gold, silver, white, black and pink. A thing that doesn’t lack is the fortune symbol on the chest.
Ukiyo-e - Kanagawa Wave by Hokusai
One of our favourite Bearbricks captures the essence of the Ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e is a genre of prints and paintings from Japanese art from the late 17th to late 19th century. One of the best representatives is the artist Katsushika Hokusai or Hokusai who is the author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally iconic print, The Great Wave of Kanagawa.
The body of the Bearbrick shows us the Great Wave and Mount Fuji on a golden landscape with translucent blue water. The 400% version for the 50th Anniversary International Ukiyo-e Society is iconic.
Another Bearbrick inspired by this image is included in the Bearbrick Series 30. The Flag design has a typical flag that japanese fishermans traditionally hang on the boat to signify a large catch of fish. A wonderful design that clearly deserves a 400% figure.
Shishimai or Lion Dance is a traditional dance in Japan for festivals and celebrations in which performers wear a lion costume and mimic a lion's movements to music. At the end of the dance, the lion "bites" the heads of some watchers, to bring further good luck.
It has a fierce red lion face and a green body with a white pattern. We are sure that this Bearbrick is biting nobody but it will bring us fortune too.
Kabuki is a classical Japanese theater dance-drama. It’s known for the stylization of its drama, the often-glamorous costumes worn by performers, and for the elaborate and distinctive make-up worn by its performers. Kabuki is considered to have begun in 1603 and is proclaimed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the Unesco since 2005.
There are two Bearbrick versions from the Kabuki actor in black or gold that preserves the make-up and the clothing.
The Buriki Kingyo shows a goldfish tin toy adapted to the body of the Bearbrick (yes, that was a challenge). From the 1950s, Japan became a major producer of cheap toys for the world market and most of them were made of tin. One of the traditional designs was this little red goldfish.
A special Bearbrick sold at the Tokyo SkyTree Solamachi center only.
Kokeshi Dolls or Kokeshis are singular wooden dolls with no arms or legs that have been crafted for more than 150 years as toys for children. They have been inspiration for lots of modern toys and they should receive the Bearbrick treatment too.
The first Kokeshi Bearbrick appeared on a 100% but now there are some beautiful Karimoku wood and golden 400% ones.
One of the biggest celebrations in Japan in spring is Hanami, where thousands of japanese go to meet, drink and eat under the cherry tree flowers or sakura.
Mika Ninagawa’s Bearbricks are popular for the wonderful floral patterns based on his photos. Here is another amazing example with the sweet Sakura pattern all over the Bearbrick body.
Make your collection look more japanese styled with these Japan Culture Bearbricks. You can get some on Kaneda Toys right now and give a special oriental taste to your collection.