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Plastic Culture: How Japanese Toys Conquered the Worldby Woodrow Phoenix
Synopses & Reviews
Plastic toys based on Japanese comics, movies and TV shows from Astro Boy, Godzilla and Gatchaman, to Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and Pokemon, have had a powerful effect on the imaginations and the markets of the West, and have kick-started trends in design and pop culture that have crossed from Japan to the West and back East again.
Lavish full-color photographs of cult, limited-edition, and "designer" toys take us through the postwar period and right up into the present, with a fascinating look at the current vogue for "urban vinyl" and "art" toys. Extensively researched, the book includes interviews with the leading players in today's toy world, including long-established Japanese toymaking giants Kaiyodo and Sanrio, world-famous fine artists and producers of "art" toys Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, and cult Hong Kong designers of "urban vinyl" toys Michael Lau and Eric So.
With its blend of incisive analysis and stylish photography, this is a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers: from those interested in the latest trends in contemporary art, to toy collectors young and old, and to anyone with an interest in Japan's influence on contemporary pop culture.
Book News Annotation:
Extolling the creative potential of plastics, a London-based comics artist/critic traces the history of Japanese toys from the postwar period's Godzillas to today's "urban vinyl" blending graphic design and art. Phoenix draws on interviews with leading Japanese toymakers, and features full-color photos of collectible toys ranging from the cute to bondage fantasy figures. A glossary of terms includes production methods and "shokuan" (action toys that come free with other products). Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Phoenix conducts a lavishly illustrated journey from the postwar development of the toy market right up to the present, stopping along the way to interview Japanese toymaking giants, cult Hong Kong toy designers, and many other leading players in the world of designer toys. Full color.
About the Author
WOODROW PHOENIX is an illustrator and designer based in London. He has published a number of comic books and strips, including "The Sumo Family," which appeared weekly in The Independent on Sunday in the U.K., and "The Liberty Cat," published in Japan by Kodansha in Morning magazine. His critical essays on comics have appeared in catalogs for exhibitions at the ICA in London, and at the University of Sussex.
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