Barbie in Japan by: Keiko Kimura Shibano

Barbie in Japan by: Keiko Kimura Shibano

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Barbie in Japan by: Keiko Kimura Shibano

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Collector Bookstore is a retailer of new books located in Leavenworth, Kansas. We specialize in price guides and reference books for the antiques and collectibles industry.

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Most of us have heard the story of Barbie's creative inspiration. Ruth Handler, Barbie's mom and one of the co-founders of Mattel Inc., watched daughter Barbara dress her grown-up paper dolls over and over again until they were in tatters. Ruth assessed the current toy market and envisioned a new doll a three dimensional fashion model that little girls could dress and put in a variety of play situations. In 1957, Mattel explored the feasibility of establishing production facilities in the Orient to save money in manufacturing this new doll and other products. This is where our story begins.

A collaborative effort was required by several groups in Japan to make the first molds for the Barbie doll. Kokusai Boeki Kaisha Ltd. coordinated the entire Barbie doll project. Charlotte Johnson, an American fashion designer, was brought to Tokyo to create Barbie doll's first wardrobe -- twenty-one costumes. Kokusai Boeki hired a local seamstress to assist her. Prototype dolls, and sample costumes had to be approved in the States and sent back to Japan for manufacturing. Some rejects appear in the Barbie collecting world as a special class.

Mass production of Barbie products began in Japan in 1959 and continued through 1972. Barbie dolls and costumes were first available for Japan's domestic market in 1962. The majority of Barbie products sold in Japan were the same as the ones sold in the States.

Interestingly, costumes have surfaced in Japan that were variations of those sold in the U.S., made from the same pattern but with different fabrics. Dolls like side part bendable leg Barbie with Twist `N Turn era vinyl, side part bubble cuts with this same pink skin were sold in Japan, but not in America. How did this happen? For a number of reasons differences in production schedules, a lack of inspecting requirements, and a "waste not, want not" attitude in using up bolts of fabric.

Now, in Keiko Kimura Shibano's "Barbie In Japan," you can vicariously enjoy these rare Japanese dolls and fashions.

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Item Details:

  • Reference #
  • 10248
  • Quantity
  • 2
  • Category
  • Toys, Dolls, Games & Puzzles
  • Department
  • Antiques
  • Type / Pattern
  • Book
  • Year
  • 1994
  • Dimensions
  • Width: 8.75 inches
  • Height: 11.25 inches
  • Depth: 0 inch
  • Weight: 2.81 pounds
  • Condition
  • New
  • Material
  • Hard Cover with dust jacket

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