New Japanese Culture: The World of Capsule Toys

New Japanese Culture: The World of Capsule Toys

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Ubiquitous in Japan

Capsule toys, which generally go by such names as Gashapon, Gachapon, and Gacha Gacha in Japanese, are ubiquitous throughout Japan. There are capsule-toy vending machines in supermarkets, candy stores, shopping malls, drugstores, restaurants, tourist sites, art museums, expressway parking areas—almost everywhere. When I was a child, I used to beg my grandparents to let me have a go. Kids can be seen standing in front of the vending machines sobbing, “Just once more!” When I became a parent myself, I had a hard time steering clear of the machines when we were out. For Japanese, these are familiar experiences.

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