Japan is a nation with an undeniably unique culture. The art, technology, and cuisine the country produces posses certain attributes that are distinctly Japanese. That said, it’s often easy to tell when something is made in Japan. While Japanese culture is often very fun and expressive, it can also be strange to an outsider who has little knowledge of the region’s customs. Certain taboos that exist in American culture are absent in Japanese culture, and vice versa. So certain things that might not fly here in the States — such as a children’s toy modeled after a dead cat, for instance — are a normal occurrence in Japan. Still, the 15 toys below have left us scratching our heads.
Editors note: Some may find a handful of the products below offensive, or graphic in nature. Please keep this in mind if you intend to read on.
Bandai Periperi Infinite Shipping Envelope Keychain Toy
Bandai’s offering is exactly what it sounds like: a keychain that allows you to experience the pure tactile nirvana that is opening an envelope. This little gadget isn’t a one trick pony, however, as there’s also a speaker on the bottom that produces the rich sound of an envelope opening with each subsequent “tear.” For about $10, you too can have the limitless enjoyment of opening an envelope without the risk of getting a paper cut. Sounds like a win-win.
Pachi Pachi Clappy
The Pachi Pachi Clappy takes the grunt work out of the act of applauding. Simply squeeze the trigger on your Clappy and the two plush hands will slap against one another. Yes, that’s right, thanks to the creators of the Pachi Pachi Clappy, the act of applause is now a low-impact endeavor. Is this at all necessary? No, but at least we now have the answer to the age-old Zen riddle: What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Barack Obama Action Figure
There are many of people out there who like to call President Obama a puppet, and Japanese manufacturer Gamu Toys has seemingly taken the ramblings of conspiracy theorists and made them a reality. The Barack Obama action figure comes with several interchangeable heads and hands, as well as full articulation, so you can deck out the 44th President of the United States with an assortment weapons and position him in whatever badass pose you see fit for our nation’s previous leader. The Obama presidency may have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean ol’ Barack “The Chop” Obama is done slaying injustice two katanas at a time.
All the fun of Russian Roulette with none of the mess! This gun-shaped toy is actually a hippo that will kick you in the head if you happen to pull the (un)lucky trigger . We’re a bit concerned at the idea of Russian Roulette being marketed to kids, no matter what adorable animals the toy is centered around. I mean, when’s the last time you sat down to watch The Deer Hunter?
For those who have cat hair allergies, and don’t mind the cold dead stare of a machine, you’re in luck. The Yume Neko Venus Robotic Cat will give you the sensation of petting a tuft of moving, purring fur with none of the added benefits of owning a real cat whatsoever. No shots required.
Speaking of dead cats, this lovely little bit of plastic and rubber recreates one of the most vivid and cloying images of any child’s nascent memories: the first time they witness a car running over the beloved family pet. We’re not sure what’s more disturbing, the toy itself, or the delightful expression on the child lining the bottom-right corner of the simple packaging.
“Shave The Baby” Doll
Who doesn’t love the rush of shaving another human being? Japan’s Shaving baby doll comes with thick, bushy tufts of red hair protruding all over its body (legs, face, buttocks, etc). The aim is to give customers the “satisfaction” of shaving the doll’s hair. Believe it or not, we’ll pass for now.
Can’t you imagine the enthusiastic commercial voice over for this toy: “Arm puncturing action! Cries real tears! Satisfies your child’s deeply disturbing desire to inflict pain on another being!”
Japan is the mecca for virtual pet toys, and this little box is one of the stranger examples. The Tuttuki Bako has several different mini games in which you can interact with various creatures and characters by poking them. It also serves as an alarm clock, so you can poke the box first thing in the morning.
This disgusting doll might look like it was ripped straight out of Cannibal Corpse’s album art, but it was actually used as an educational tool during Edo-era Japan. However, the meticulous detail and overall off-putting aesthetic of the doll also make it one of the most disturbing toys on our list.
While this toilet figure — which is based on one of the most popular Japanese children’s characters, Anpanman — isn’t necessarily all that strange on its own, there seems to be a preoccupation with what each character in the Apanman franchise defecates. There are numerous YouTube videos of people showing off their favorite Apanman stools, and this toilet toy is at the center of it all.
This coin bank will slowly and creepily eat your pocket change right out of your hand… or gnaw absently at the air as if conveying some subtle threat to you and everyone you love. Yikes.
The H-Bouya is a USB-powered figurine whose face goes red every time the “H” key is pressed. That may sound harmless, sure, but keep in mind that the letter “H” is often used as a shorthand label for all things perverted and/or pornographic in Japan.
The Humping Dog USB Stick
Since dealing with an over-zealous pup is something all dog owners adore, why not recreate that awkward encounter every time you plug in your USB stick? This USB powered gag sure lights the spark in Sparky, though, we imagine it would get old rather quick.
Baby in a Microwave
Look, we don’t know what to say about this one. Of all the entries on our list, the one takes the cake for being the most bizarre, gross, and disturbing “toy.” We’re not sure why it exists, but it does, and it’s baffling. Sometimes it’s just best to stick with a classic G.I. Joe figurine.