| Kenji Iwaasa |
TOKYO (WP-BLOOM) — Cute animal-themed decorations are starting to take over living rooms and office desks in Japan, bringing joy to anyone who looks at them. Most of the ornaments by Nagoya-based Decole Co are tiny and made of plastic, and give off different vibes than that of stuffed animals.
A vibrant selection of animals including cats, bear cubs and parakeets are featured, but what truly makes them unique is their posture. Some strike a taiiku-suwari pose, meaning hunkering down, or sit having coffee or are shown exercising.
Small enough to sit in your palm, they come with a reasonable price tag — from 300 yen (about $2.85 dollars) per animal, excluding tax.
“As they don’t take much space when decorating a room, they sell particularly well among women living alone,” said Yuto Komori, in charge of Decole marketing in eastern Japan. “They’re popular not only because they’re cute but because of their somewhat satirical nature.”
The animal characters have become widely used as decorations at beauty shops, restaurants and flower shops, in addition to private use, he said.
Komori introduced a set of animal-shaped goods and other small items as part of a “picnic in the forest” theme. He created a scene where the animals are enjoying a picnic using a real stump and a pine cone, with some of them lounging near a basket.
There are many other fun animal-themed goods for you to consider.
For instance, silicon rubber bands known as Animal Rubber Bands are a big hit with both kids and adults. Featuring a colorful mix of animals including elephants, kangaroos and pigs, the rubber bands can be used to fasten snack bags and bento. Resistant to hot and cold temperatures, they retain their original shape even when stretched out.
In July, the company launched a new type which is thicker than the original model. Able to stand on its own, the new rubber bands are priced at 700 yen for a set of six, excluding tax. You can arrange your favourite animal-shaped bands and play with them like toys.
Animal-shaped wall stickers produced by Kyoto-based Toyo Case Co are just as popular. Made of cloth, the adhesive animal-shaped sheets can be stuck onto various places around the home, including around electric sockets and even in the restroom.
The company also produces Kabasuta, an amusing smartphone stand shaped after a gaping hippopotamus mouth that comes in five colours, priced at 1,400 yen, excluding tax.
Decole will soon start selling Tenori Fusen (paper loops that slip on the fingers) featuring designs of small birds and squirrels priced at 380 yen, excluding tax. Notes can be written on the paper and then wrapped around fingers. They also function as a handy bookmark.
“These items may not be daily essentials, but they’re great to play with and give us some comfort,” Komori said.