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No.248 (11/22/13)

Unique Toys Won Awards in the Japan Toy Competition 2013

By Chiho Tsukiashi
Staff Writer

The Japan Toy Association selected this year's winners of the Japan Toy Competition in June 2013 as a part of the International Tokyo Toy Show. The annual event's objective is to encourage toy makers to develop quality toys that will appeal to customers. This year, 363 entries from 45 companies competed. Having started in 2008, it has only been held six times in the past, but it has attracted much interest in the media and with consumers. You may want to obtain some of the award-winning toys as holiday gifts or souvenirs. There are seven divisions and 35 awards in this competition: General Toy Division, Educational Toy Division, Boy's Toy Division, Girl's Toy Division, Character Toy Division, Innovative Toy Division, Grown-up's Toy Division, and Top Sales Award. In each division, the five best toys were selected and a final winner was chosen from those five. In this article, I would like to introduce some of the award-winning toys that might interest The Insider readers. They are available online at large toy stores such as Toys”R”Us. Also at online stores, you might be able to find them with a good discount.

★ General Toy Division: Dokidoki Treasure (Mega House Co. Ltd.) 4,179 yen
Find treasures that pirates have hidden and collect them. They are randomly placed on the maze board and it’s up to you to hunt them down. Take turns and pick them up one by one with a tong, without making any noise. Otherwise, Captain Skeleton will notice and swing back and forth. Hope he doesn’t fall on the board or its game over!

★ Educational Toy Division: Rubber Band Pattern Board わごむパターンボー (Kumon Publishing Co. Ltd. ) 2,625 yen
This toy is very inventive. Children can hook colorful rubber bands on pins to make various shapes. First, insert a card on a board and make the same shape by hooking the rubber bands on the pins on the board. It comes with two boards, one with 19 pins and the other with 81 pins, and 30 cards with 60 examples in all different levels of difficulty. Once children get a hang of it, they will enjoy making their own original shapes as well. This toy develops their manual dexterity, powers of concentration, sense of shapes, and creativity.

★ Boy's Toy Division: Micro-charger Super Time Truck Set (Hapinet Co. Ltd.) 4,179yen
These toy cars are the smallest and can race so fast on the race courses. It takes only eight seconds to fully charge these one inch cars. The track is changeable and there are gates that open at random, so speed is not the only factor to win the race. Four cars can charge and start at the same time. Courses can be arranged in a variety of ways and two cars come in the starter box. ★ Girl's Toy Division: Aqua Beads Art, Kirakira Beads Designer Set (Epoch Co. Ltd.) 4,179 yen Lay beads using a pen, and spray water. They stick together to make bead accessories so easily. Patterns include tiara, ring, necklace and more. Beads are colorful and shiny. Girls would enjoy the process of making accessories and wearing them after they are complete.

★ Innovative Toy Division: Disney Last Piece Jigsaw Puzzle (Tenyo Co. Ltd.) 3,465yen
Jigsaw puzzles are already wonderfully fun. But something amazing happens as this new jigsaw puzzle is completed. Hold an iPad or iPhone over it, and the Disney characters on the puzzle become animated and music streams. Your message can be programmed on it. They have two designs so far: Welcome to the Dream Theater, and Morning Bakery Shop.

★ Grown-up's Toy Division: Auto Me S, Miniature Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Takara Tommy Co. Ltd.) 1,575 yen
Robotic vacuum cleaner for your tablet computer and smartphone. It requires only one AA battery to clean their screens, by rolling cleaning paper on the cleaner. It effectively removes oils and fingerprints from the screen area. It measures only 75mm.

★ Character Toy Award: Chuggington Puzzle Town Delux with Willson (Masudaya Co. Ltd) 5,040 yen
British animation, Chugginton, has been popular worldwide since it was first broadcasted in 2008. Train toys of Chuggers sell well but now it gets even better. To play with this specific toy, first connect railroads by arranging puzzles as you like. Then, let Wilson, the main character, run on them. The box includes twelve railroad puzzles, two buildings, four background panels, and Wilson.

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