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another world, another time, in the age of wonder... [Feb. 12th, 2010|03:11 pm]
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[luvcraft]
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.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: byname
2010-02-13 03:08 am (UTC)

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

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

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Wow, the way values change amaze me.