“Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju”: Japanese toy exhibition at San Francisco Int’l Aiport


Japanese movie, television, and manga (comics) inspired legions of iconic character toys. Godzilla, the king of monsters, spawned from the atomic bomb’s aftermath, stormed onto the screen as the premier kaiju or Japanese monster in 1954. Ultraman, a futuristic television series introduced in 1966, featured a superhuman hero who battled a new kaiju each episode. The manga Astro Boy or Mighty Atom, about a child robot, made its debut in 1952 and prompted the first of many animated television programs in the 1960s. Later on, kawaii, which refers to all things cute, became a national obsession. One of the world’s most beloved icons, Hello Kitty, created in 1974 by Sanrio, remains as popular as ever.

Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju provides a feast for the eyes and the imagination. This exhibition captures the remarkable evolution of Japanese toys. Kokeshi dollsmenko playing cards, and battery-operated robots are among the quintessential toys on display. Vinyl kaiju figures, Ultraman novelties, and a dress made entirely from plush Hello Kitty dolls are some of the unexpected items on view.

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the country’s only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation.

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“Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju”: Japanese toy exhibition at San Francisco Int’l Aiport

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