Weird History - another world, another time, in the age of wonder... [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Weird History

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

another world, another time, in the age of wonder... [Feb. 12th, 2010|03:11 pm]
Previous Entry Add to Memories Share


In 1960, the Takara toy company (which later went on to create Transformers, among other things) had one of their first big hits with Dakko-chan, a black vinyl "golliwog" doll with winking eyes that clipped onto a child's arm. The doll was first called "tree climbing winky", and then "[untranslatable racial slur referencing the all-black costumes of traditional Japanese stage-hands]-chan" before settling on "Dakko-chan", where "Dakko" means "snuggle" in Japanese, and is also a pun on the English word "dark".

What surprises me isn't the fact that this toy was so popular, or even the fact that Dakko-chan became Takara's mascot for the next 28 years until public outcry motivated them to add a tail and call it a monkey. What surprises me in particular is this article in LIFE magazine about the fad, where they quote a couple of Japanese artists who just seem so proud that Japanese children are "embracing negro culture" by buying these dolls. Things were perceived a little differently in 1960...

Here's the image that originally appeared with the article:

Here's a Japanese blog article on the fad, and here's the Japanese Wikipedia entry on Dakko-chan.

[User Picture]From: byname
2010-02-13 03:08 am (UTC)


Heh. Wow.
[User Picture]From: sispistol
2010-02-14 02:11 am (UTC)


Amazing, thanks for writing this up!
[User Picture]From: blueduende
2010-09-28 01:29 am (UTC)


Wow, the way values change amaze me.