FUNKY STAYING Welcome to “Gacha-gacha” Wonderland!

“Gacha-pon-kaikan” and an amazing figure toys at “Kaiyo-do”, are Japanese modern culture with artistic spirits!

Daimyo Clock Museum
The Daimyo clocks
The Daimyo clocks
The Daimyo clocks

“Gacha-gacha” is the toy in a plastic case, which is sold in a machine. It originally came from the USA to Japan around 1965. It has since been improved remarkably in Japan. The pioneer company “Value Merchandise” is in Sumida-ku. They improved the machine and created new toys for it. “Kaiyo-do” figure toy is the revolutionary company for “Gacha-gacha”.
We can find “Gacha-gacha” wonderland in Akihabara, and they are two shops named “Gacha-Pon-Kaikan” and “Kaiyo-do Hobby Lobby Tokyo”. Each place is unique in its own way.


The 1st floor of the shop at “Gacha-pon-Kaikan” itself has about 430 “Gacha-gacha!” To buy one, most of the price range between ¥100–¥300.
Well, you should try it once! On the machine there is a picture which shows what kind of toys (about 4–8kinds) are in the plastic cases of each machine. You don’t know what you will get each time because it is a game. You first choose the machine you like, put the coin into the slot, and turn the knob clock wise 360°.
I think putting these pictures on the machine was the revolution of “Gacha-gacha”. When I was a child, only the prize was illustrated. We rarely won and we mostly got the cheep toy which we didn’t want. Therefore, Gacha-gacha was like gambling for children.

Now there are various kinds of toys in “Gacha-gacha”. There are worldwide famous characters, Japanese animation & Manga characters, and originally designed ones. Especially there are many originally designed toys. This and that, pretty, cute, cool, funny, unbelievably strange, and a special one which is made by “Kaiyo-do”! This is “Gacha-gacha” world.

When I visited “Gacha-pon-kaikan” with Tamaki for the first time, she tried “Gacha-gacha” of the mushrooms toys, and she got Enoki-mashroom. Tamaki and I looked at it and suddenly said “Wow! It looks almost real!” I then tried others, “Nightmare before Christmas” and Cubic Characters. While thinking which one to try, and the moment of turning its knob, I am excited and feel happy. Also, Tamaki does too.

Daimyo Clock Museum

Another revolution about “Gacha-gacha” in “Kaiyo-do” is that it is the most famous company of figure toy and garage-kit toy in Japan. The figure is the highest quality in the world, and it has its own story. Then “Kaiyo-do” has changed “Gacha-gacha” so it is now not only for children. Many adults have gotten interested in figure toy world now. And their figures have advanced more and more by creators of “Kaiyo-do”.
When I watch the Kaiyo-do’s figures at “Kaiyo-do Hobby Lobby Tokyo”, I am really surprised. I mean I am impressed how great they are. Many of the past figures of “Kaiyo-do” are displayed like a museum there, and of course “Gacha-gacha” machines are prepared. I tried one of them, which is the most famous Japanese artist Taro Okamoto’s masterpiece figures’. I got one titled “Kodomono-ki” that I wanted the most, I am very lucky!

Anyway, why can “Kaiyo-do” do it?
I’ve got to know the important part of it by TV program “Cambria Kyuden” on TV TOKYO, after I went to Akihabara.
“Kaiyo-do” is formerly a very small (about 5m2) shop of plastic model. The regular customers thought “None of the shops sell goods that we really want! Then we can make goods by ourselves!” and in around 1971, they’ve started to make it in fact. This was beginning of “Kaiyo-do” long story. Some former regular customers have become the prototype creators.

Daimyo Clock Museum

Daimyo Clock Museum

The leading expert in the animation-girl’s figure field, Bome, in those days he was 10 years old. Now, Bome works very long hours at the company 365 days a year, he goes to Osaka city to get some information what he need there on Sunday morning, he comes back home only to sleep. The reason is because he wants to do it. He says “I’ve been making the prototype of figure for the modern artist now, but I’ve not made the most beautiful line of the girl’s body yet”.
Another creator makes an animal figure’s prototype, but the poses that have never been made by other companies. He is thinking and making the prototype at same time very quickly while he is talking. All creators of Kaiyo-do make own field figure’s prototype which they want however customer can’t watch the detail.
Maybe prototype creators of “Kaiyo-do” former Otaku, but “Kaiyo-do” made them ultra Otaku which is almost like an artists.

Anyway I wonder how they make the figure toy from the great prototype, and by whom? The second president of “Kaiyo-do”, Shuich Miyawaki says that there are 100 painting process of one figure toy, each process is painted by one factory worker in China. For example some factory worker only paints the black part of the eyes, another worker paints only the red lips. Then each factory worker does not need such a high technique. But there are 100 processes!
This is Shuichi Miyawaki’s idea who is really a creative person. He, his father and the founder, Osamu Miyawaki, and prototype creators are “Kaiyo-do”, they’ve continued to challenge more and more.

Well, Tamaki and I were caught up in the charm of Japanese “Gacha-gacha” wonderland!! Why don’t you join us?

Sae Madumarala


    Phone: 03-5209-6020
    Location: 3-15-5, MN bldg.1F, Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    Open: 11:00-20:00 (Fri.Sat.&day before a holiday 11:00-22:00/ Sun.&Holidays 11:00-19:00)/Open all year


    Phone: 03-3253-1951
    Location: 1-15-4 Radio-Kaikan-Ichigokan bldg. 7F, Soto-kanda, Tokyo
    Open: 11:00-20:00/Closed on Wed.




ちなみに同行の珠希は「きのこシリーズ」のシメジその他をゲット。私はキュービック ・キャラのドナルドと、ナイトメアー・ビフォア・クリスマスのストラップをゲットし、プレゼントのラッッピングのリボンにつけたり、ジップの金具につけてみました。

私はホビーロビー東京で、大好きな岡本太郎の作品シリーズを買った。手のひらに乗せて間近で見ても大満足の素晴らしさで、これもなんと300円! ガチャポン会館や、ホビーロビー東京のショーケースに展示されている歴代のガチャガチャもスゴイけど、手にした自分のものは格別! 今の海洋堂のガチャガチャの、ありがたいような不思議な魅力は、手にしないと分からないんじゃないかと思う。300円で小さいアート作品を買ったような、信じられないような気分だ。ケイタイで撮った写真を友人たちに披露したり、日本カルチャーの一つとして誇らしい気持ちで、大切に部屋に飾っている。