Cute Japanese gifts online
October 1, 2014 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I was hoping to find something like this but less expensive and maybe more authentic (?) to Japanese culture, somewhere online.

Sanrio has cute characters, but do Japanese kids really go for Sanrio? Ideally there is something inexpensive, authentic to the Japanese kid/teen experience, and available for purchase online in some English-language format.

Anthropomorphized foods and everyday objects are a BIG hit with the kids I'm shopping for (8 and 10 yrs old), but I think anything "cute" and inoffensive (homeschooled, conservative) would do. Price range: 0 - 25 USD.
posted by elken to Shopping (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Japanese kids love Sanrio, in my experience. What about it strikes you as inauthentic? It reads as very Japanese to me, in the sense of being an object designed for the Japanese market.

If you're looking for something similar but cheaper, is there a Daiso anywhere near you?
posted by chocotaco at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I buy stuff at Strapya once in a while. They have character stuff (mostly geared towards phone accessories, like squishies) and some original items. For example, you can order a personalized laser-cut wooden tag (kifuda) like these that you can hang from bags or your phone.

For anime character stuff, you could get some gachapon in bulk, although they tend to be of current anime shows. Re-ment miniatures are also very cute. You can buy some from HLJ here.
posted by sukeban at 2:19 PM on October 1, 2014

JBox is my usual source of interesting Japanese things. (Note that sister site JList includes adult items.) I haven't checked recently but cute anthropomorphic food is a pretty commonly stocked thing. Prices are ridiculously higher than they'd be in Japan but still lower than other export sites I've seen.
posted by tchemgrrl at 2:34 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding that Sanrio is completely authentic. It's no longer at it's height as it was in the 80s when it was literally the most magical place in the world, and I don't think they have many Sanrio stores in Japan anymore (they used to be everywhere) but everyone still likes Sanrio.
posted by Blitz at 2:38 PM on October 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

That looks totally legit to me, and is exactly the sort of weirdo stuff that's popular in Japan, including the wording in english characters.

In case you're wondering, that's a slice of salmon and a slice of fish-cake.
posted by telepanda at 2:55 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sanrio is as Japanese as it gets. In Japan, that kind of cutesy stuff is marketed to children--mainly girls as boys tend to be into things like Beyblade and Pokeman--and women in their 20s and 30s. $16.50 is a bit high for something like that, but not terribly so. Definitely within your price range, right?
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 5:38 PM on October 1, 2014

Kirimi-chan is one of Sanrio's most popular new characters in recent years, actually. If you're buying for Japanese kids, this would be a great choice, even up to tween to teen girls. If you're thinking of buying Japanese stuff for non-Japanese kids who aren't familiar with Japanese fads, then Kirimi-chan might seem pretty weird. Another currently popular anthropomorphized food here is Funassyi, the "unofficial" local character of Funabashi in Chiba. Funassyi's a ridiculously popular pear.
posted by misozaki at 5:42 PM on October 1, 2014

Winnie The Pooh is actually pretty big in Japan. If you have a disney store nearby, they have so many adorable options.
posted by lizbunny at 6:42 PM on October 1, 2014

Hello Kitty is definitely authentic. San-X characters are also popular.

Maybe poking around some Japanese bookstore or pen store websites would be helpful to get a feel for the merchandise available?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 8:00 PM on October 1, 2014

Nthing that Sanrio is never not popular. And like misozaki said, Funassyi is a currently popular regional mascot, the other big mascot now is Kumamon.

Right now Yokai Watch is blowing up everywhere, but the character art is more pokemon cute than Sanrio cute.

If the kids like more weird or a little "ugly cute" then there's also the nameko mushroom characters, or the troll-like kobito zukan characters too, although the latter might be pushing the "inoffensive" boundary a bit.

Don't know where to buy though; most of my links above were to Rakuten Global - they'll ship to you, but not sure how their shipping adds up compared to local import shops
posted by p3t3 at 7:14 AM on October 2, 2014

You might want to use the search time "kawaii". I cannot vouch for this place, or anything, but it came up on my search and looks like the sort of thing you are wanting: Blippo.
posted by freezer cake at 10:06 AM on October 2, 2014

Response by poster: This has been very helpful! I found some great stuff out there. Thanks, everyone.
posted by elken at 6:07 AM on October 6, 2014

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