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International Tokyo Toy Show

by Edan Corkill

Where else could the Pocket Monsters, Tomica Hero Rescue Force, Miffy and Yattermen all share the same stage?

In the imaginations of young children, I guess. But to witness this meeting of adolescents’ heroes in the real world, you will have to be at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake this weekend, where the International Tokyo Toy Show will be held.

At Japan’s largest annual toy fair, around 36,000 toys will be displayed in stalls presented by 134 manufacturers from Japan and worldwide. More than 120,000 people are expected to attend.

ITTS staff report that toy tendencies for 2008 include “cooking themes” as well as a whole range of second- and third-generation upgrades of existing favorites.

Another highlight will be more “adult” toys featured than ever before. Not that this suggests anything untoward; adult toys in Japan these days generally mean fitness and weight-reduction gadgets.

The manufacturers with the largest stalls will be domestic companies Bandai, Konami Digital Entertainment, Toho, Sega Toys and Tomy. Mattel, Lego and other well-known foreign brands will also be represented at the fair.

The event runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

Performances featuring popular children’s TV characters will be held on a large central stage at regular intervals each day.

For more details see www.toys.or.jp/toyshow/english/

The Tokyo Big Sight convention center is easily accessible from Kokusai-tenjijo-Seimon Station on the Yurikamome Line or Kokusai-tenjijo Station on the Rinkai Line.