Japan’s toy market topped ¥1 trillion ($7 billion) for the first time in the financial year that ended in March, driven in part by solid demand for goods of anime characters and franchises like Pokemon from foreign tourists, an industry body said Thursday.
Sales of card games, stuffed toys, model vehicles and other types of toys totaled ¥952.5 billion, up 6.7% from a year earlier, according to the Japan Toy Association.
Sales of “capsule toys,” or miniature toys sold in plastic capsules from vending machines, amounted to ¥61 billion, up 35.6%.
Sales growth was also led by toys for adults such as model train sets, offsetting the negative effect of Japan’s aging population.
Led by cards from the Pokemon and One Piece franchises, sales of playing and trading cards totaled ¥234.9 billion, up 32.2%.
Foreign tourists were also attracted to Pokemon figures and stuffed toys.
“We do not have definite data on foreign tourists, but we hear from the sales floors that they are doing well,” said Daisuke Fujii, an official at the association.
“Besides the merchandise of popular anime or cartoon characters, capsule toys are drawing demand for gifts,” Fujii said.
Billian Wilder, a 12-year-old American, was among foreign visitors looking at capsule-toy dispensers at the Tokyo Station terminal as she considered her choices.
Her mother Elyzabeth, 46, said that her daughter had been obsessed with the miniature toys since their last visit to Japan three years ago.