Kabaya Japanese Hero Collection

Japanese producers of sweets and candy often pack their goodies with little presents, so-called o-make. These o-make regularly become the one and only reason to buy the candy.

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Kabaya Heroes CollectionKabaya, a producer of confectionery in the city of Okayama near Hiroshima, has come out with a series that is bound to be a smashing hit: Japanese heroes of the Warring States Period (Sengoku Jidai,1467-1568) created by figure designer Akihiro Enku.

The series consists of six historical characters who played important roles in Japan’s unification, and two famous swordsmen.

The figures are exquisitely made with amazing attention to detail. Figures carry swords and other weapons, and have very realistic expressions on their faces. You can actually feel the structure of their armor.

It is quite rare that historical figures are used. More common are famous Japanese characters like Doraemon, animals, or the robots that figure in Science Fiction Anime.

In Japan it is usually not the small kids that buy these collectables, but teenagers and adults. Once an item has become hot, prices at auctions can go sky high. The latest collection craze for an o-make was Furuta Seika’s Choco Egg. Small chocolate eggs that held animal figurines designed by Japan’s top figure designer Shinobu Matsumura of Kyoto-based Kaiyodo. Within half a year they sold 7 million eggs.

The craze took Japan by storm. There were Choco Egg specialty stores, Choco Egg Encyclopedias, stickers and fan web sites. A lot of Choco Egg trading took place at Yahoo’s Japanese auction site. Some figures sold for as much as JYE 50,000 (about USD 420.00 at the time)!

Nobody knows yet if Kabaya’s series will be as successful as that, but the store where I bought this item was out of its stock within hours. According to Kabaya spokesman Haruki Kiminami over 800,000 were sold in the first month after the item’s introduction on October 29. “But,” he says, “we think that the wave will crest within two or three months.”

The historical figures in the collection:

Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582)
A highly gifted military leader, ruthless warrior, and one of the three people that unified Japan (The others were Toyotomi and Tokugawa).

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598)
Born a son of a poor farmer, he managed to rise through the ranks, and eventually succeed Oda. Built Osaka Castle. (He had a little help from 60,000 laborers…)

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616)
Emerged at the battle of Sekigahara (1600) as the final winner to unify Japan. Founded the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 260 years.

Maeda Toshiie (1538-1599)
Fought for Oda Nobunaga, and later assisted Hideyoshi with the invasion of Korea. Maeda tried to curb the power of Tokugawa, but died before Sekigahara.

Takeda Shingen (1521-1573)
Traditionally considered the strongest warrior of the Warring States Period. His motto: Be as swift as the wind, silent as wood, fierce as fire, composed as a mountain.

Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578)
Charismatic lord, whose dream of unifying Japan was destroyed when his forces were defeated by Takeda in a dramatic battle in Nagano (location of the 1998 Winter Olympics).

Miyamato Musashi (1584-1645)
The most famous swordsman of Japanese history. Won 60 bouts, and lost none. In his Book of Five Rings he claimed that training the spirit is more important than skill.

Sazaki Kojiro (15??-1612)
Swordsman, famous for his technique and long sword. Fought Miyamoto in 1612. It is said Miyamoto carved a sword from an oar to overcome the long sword. Sazaki lost.

Related Links:
Kabaya’s Official Web Site

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

I was wondering if there was anyplace that sold/auctioned the entire collection.
Feb 18, 2006 (6430 days ago)
Ashley, these figures were sold already quite a while ago so it will be difficult to find them. But I did find some at the Japanese Yahoo Auctions. You’ll need Japanese, though and a friend in Japan, because the seller won’t ship internationally…

Complete set at Yahoo Auctions
All Kabaya Japanese Hero auctions at Yahoo Auctions
More Kabaya Goods at Yahoo Auctions
Historical figures at Yahoo Auctions
Kjeld Duits (author)
Feb 18, 2006 (6430 days ago)

you know were in USA can I buy kabaya candies retail or wholesale, I´ll appreciate to much if you can share this with me on GRACIAS :9

Carolina Loera
Jun 25, 2011 (4476 days ago)

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