Five bag top toy awards

by Kazuaki Nagata

The Japan Toy Association announced five winners Tuesday of its second annual toy awards, leading up to the nation’s biggest toy exhibition, the International Tokyo Toy Show, which kicks off Thursday.

The winner of the Trendy category was Tomy Co.’s Nama Caramel Pot, a popular kit for making fresh caramel chews in a microwave oven.

The company also won in the Basic toy category for its Metal Fight Beyblade battling tops. Players can choose from a variety of parts to assemble individual spinning tops for battle against rivals.

The Innovative category prize went to Epoch Co.’s TV Globe. The electronic globe attaches by a cord to a television, which then displays information about a country corresponding to where the globe is touched with a special pen.

The Universal category, for toys that can be played by children with disabilities, was won by Sega Toys Co. for a drawing board that lets kids draw and write using light.

The High Target category, for all ages, went to Rubik’s 360, a new mechanical puzzle designed by Erno Rubik, the creator of the Rubik’s Cube. The sphere-shaped puzzle contains six colored balls and two inner spheres. The object is to maneuver the balls by twisting and turning the puzzle to get them into their matching colored domes on the outside of the sphere.

The awards were created last year to energize the industry and give toy makers an added incentive to produce more attractive products ahead of the International Tokyo Toy Show. The five winners were chosen from 328 entries.

Throughout the judging process, “I reconfirmed the wonderfulness of Japan’s toy culture, which we can proudly present to the world,” said Teruhisa Kitahara, a renowned toy collector who headed the awards committee.

The toy show runs from Thursday until Sunday at Tokyo Big Sight.