On our recent filming trip to Tokyo, we were fortunate to visit Obitsu, a famous Japanese factory that specializes in vinyl toys. Obitsu is world-renowned for its unmatched production quality. President and owner of the company, Saburou Obitsu, graciously spoke with the Toypunks crew in an unprecedented, revealing interview about the history of his company and the process of making soft vinyl toys, or sofubi. Obitsu-san's factory is one of the largest and most prestigious in Japan, having crafted countless toys for both mainstream and, in very recent years, boutique vinyl companies such as Toygraph, Secret Base and many more.
Since the first Ultra Q and Godzilla toys were made decades ago, the vinyl production process has not changed, allowing Obitsu to refine production techniques to the highest levels. Among collectors of the genre, Japanese vinyl is considered the best in the world.
After our interview, we were invited to film the sofubi process. Obitsu's longtime factory worker, Shizuo Matsui, showed us how to mix and pour vinyl, which was truly stunning, providing tremendously fascinating filmic moments.
The Toypunks crew and our good friend and translator, Yo Miyamoto, also had the opportunity to pull vinyl toys from the mold, which, not coincidentally, were Space Troopers by Toygraph. Shuuji Kajimoto, owner and creator of Toygraph, was on hand that day for an interview and was integral to our Obitsu visit. Later that day we'd speak extensively with Mr. Kajimoto on film, which we'll be blogging about very soon.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Obitsu, Kajimoto-san and everyone at Obitsu factory for their kindness. We hope that you enjoy these photos (in no particular order) from our amazing day.