I finally got around to seeing the new SFO Museum show called Japanese Toys ! From Kokeshi to Kaiju. For those who may not know the San Francisco airport ( SFO ) has an actual accredited museum contained within the various terminals and corridors.
Like me, you’ve probably seen various exhibits big and small while waiting for flights. I guess I never thought about the fact that these are all painstakingly designed, researched and displayed. Yes, just like a stand alone museum.
A quick back story, over a year ago I was contacted by SFO curator Nicole Mullen about participating in a group show at the SFO Museum about Japanese toys. The premise was to show a overview of toys made in Japan, from wood toys, tin toys, through modern plastic toys. Not just Monster or Kaiju toys, mind you, this aspect actually interested me. I see Kaiju toys in my room everyday, but to see other types of toys and characters I thought would make for a nice exhibit.
I was interested but did not really know how I felt about loaning out my 100+ toys for 8-9 months. While the exhibit would be about 6 months the process would involve coming to pick up the items, carefully wrapping them for travel to their offices. Once there condition reports and such were generated and they planned out how to display the 500+ items that would be the show. In fact, they would completely stage the exhibit off site before the actual display in the terminal.
Needless to say, each step of the way, the Nicole, Kelvin and Alisa and the SFO staff were not only professional but always open to communication about any of my concerns concerning any steps of the process.They were mindful to treat all items with museum gloves, archival packing and even in displaying them to be mindful of sunlight etc.
If they ever contact you about loaning items for a show I would give them all a big thumbs up 😉
Below is a brief tour of the show which is located beyond security in the domestic United terminal. Yes, the downside is you will need to be traveling to see the show ..because of 9-11, you have to go through security ;-( But, should be traveling I highly recommend taking a look before you board your plane ! There’s some really rare toys and displays that most collectors and fans don’t normally see 😉
Here’s the link to the show online as well : http://www.flysfo.com/museum/exhibitions/japanese-toys-kokeshi-kaiju
A quick view of the exhibit down the long United terminal. I’m sorry these are not really in order of how the exhibit is laid out and I might have forgotten a display but for the most part I think I have pictures of most of the show.
Here Max and I pose in front of a classic poster image from a Bullmark toys ad, 1970s.
By the way, they have a very nice “free” brochure for the exhibit too.
Giant Inu Dog sculpture .. yes not a Cat 😉
Its a bit surreal to see “my” toys on display and looking at me 😉 But infact, as a collector you have to realize that these toys will most likely out live you and be passed onto another person down the line. Well for now I’m enjoying them and I’m glad they are on display for others to see and enjoy.
I really like how everything is laid out. It’s hard to see but each figure has a wire support behind the leg, with a clear rubber waist support. They are all securely attached without taking away from the display of the figure.
Kaiju display, the super duper sized Red King in the middle is a super duper rare Popy store display from the King Rory collection. Very nice to see one up close.
If you’ve followed me for awhile you know I’m a huge fan and supporter of the various craftsmen in Japan, who still to this day, make these Japanese toys. I was happy to provide some items and images of Shimizu-san, who casts all of the Max Toys we make in Japan.Shown here are also vintage Popy molds from the 70s as well as original Kaiju Drazoran sculpt, test shots and paint masks.
The two items ( middle and left side ) are an Ultraman Jack and Lion Maru ride both circa 70s Japan. The one facing the other way is Kamen Rider V3 ( from Kimono My House collection ). I love these rides and was thrilled to see them elevated and displayed like this ! If only my toy room was so big I’d display them like this too ;-P
Another case with various Ultra goodies from my collection 😉
I’m trying to get in to touch my toys 😉
So yes there are other cases in this exhibit besides my Ultra stuff … here’s some vintage tin robots. A few of these are from my collection as well 😉 Circa 50-60s Japan.
another view of the giant Inu Dog .. really cool !
above and below some paper items, kites, fans various toys and ceramic dolls.
While I’m not a doll collector, these were really cool examples of vintage Japanese girls dolls with kimonos.
Knowing that quite a few West coast folks not only saw Ultraman, but Kikaida figures from my collection were also included.
Max poses with a blow up of Ultraman, from the Marusan tin box.
More paper items, Menko cards, trading cards also used to play games with.
cool tiger / cat figure 😉
Various vintage Kokeshi dolls and wooden figures.
Probably eclipsing Godzilla as a recognizable character in the states, is Hello Kitty. I;m sure my fellow Godzilla collectors will be up in arms about this 😉
vintage Hello Kitty items from Sanrio collection.
and of course, this crazy Hello Kitty dress worn by Lady Gaga ;-P
But of course whats near and dear to my heart is of course Ultraman … and here’s myself and Max in front of my Ultraman suit.
I need to find some boots for him 😉
Well, there you have it I most excellent show ! I hope you have the time to see it as it runs thru April 2014. I was told through the whole run of the show, tens of thousands of traveling people will see it as they go thru the terminal. I hope it sparks the imagination of some kid to collect or create their own Kaiju of the future !