We've decided to take a break from our home renovations and introduce you to some recent arrivals from Japan. Circa 2002, my buddy Mike gave me the thief (center) as a birthday gift, figuring (rightfully) that he'd be a welcome addition to my home. At that point, I knew nothing about the figure or its creator, Mr. Ryohei Yanagihara. A long while later, when Valery and I first started dating, she spied the li'l jailbird and fell in love immediately. Thus began the search for other figures and further information concerning their creator.
We'd soon discover that Mr. Yanagihara had been a popular illustrator in Japan, and that he'd made his creative mark through advertising and book covers. Some of his most recognized work was for the Suntory Whiskey company, where he created Uncle Tory in 1958—the character would later manifest itself repeatedly in print ads, TV commercials and collectible advertising figures.
The two figures at top are vintage promotional items that originally housed toothpicks. The three toys in the foreground were part of a series that was released in the early 00s. We're both eternally grateful to our Japanese pal, Hidehisa, who was kind enough to navigate auction and retail sites in an effort to help us procure these four items ...in exchange for records, of course! Thanks again!!
Here's a link to a great blog post with plenty of info. Below are more favorites:
Should anyone have any Yanagihara toys or promotional items that they'd like to get rid of, please don't hesitate to contact us! We're especially interested in any of his viking figures!!
For those of you who care, the record room is almost done. Be on the lookout for an update toward the middle of this week! Now it's time to get back to work.