.css" /> ToyboxDX: Datafiles: Ohsato
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Oh! Oh! Second Time Ohsato

text: Matt Alt, graphics: Robert Duban

January 2006


Image contributions: Macrossworld, Zor Master

[early Ohsato logo] Ohsato is quite possibly the oldest and most successful Japanese toy company you've never heard of. The company flooded store shelves with all manner of forgettable, low-grade character toys in the 1970s and early 1980s, from trading cards to vinyl figures to simple plastic and die cast action toys.

It's tempting to dismiss Ohsato as just another minor player on the Japanese toy scene. In fact, however, they were -- and continue to be -- one of the country's oldest toy producers, boasting a surprisingly long and storied history. Founded in 1927, the Ohsato Corporation changed its name to the Ohsato Toy Factory in 1947, the Ohsato Toy Manufacturing Company in 1985, and finally back to the Ohsato Corporation, which it remains today. (As you can see from the samples of their logo on this page, they also experimented with several varieties of English translation of their company name as well.) Yes, unlike the vast majority of other companies chronicled here in the Datafiles, they're still alive and kicking. Flying under the radar has apparently paid off for Ohsato; the bulk of their current products are manufactured on a subcontracted basis for larger companies such as Tomy, Takara, and Sega.

[Ohsato logo] Actual Ohsato-branded products, once plentiful but now a fairly uncommon sight on modern toy store shelves, exude a volatile mixture of inspiration and desperation. The licenses are mainly top-notch fare. But the toys themselves are cheap and almost disposable: vinyl "finger puppets" of monsters from Ultraman shows, easily broken plastic Gundam figures, cardboard and Styrofoam gliders emblazoned with anime characters. Many of the packages feature bold "AS SEEN ON TV!" logos, the sort of thing you'd be more likely to see on a Home Shopping Network waffle iron than a robot toy. Perhaps because the concept was so painfully obvious -- children had to see the characters on TV before they could ask their parents for them -- very few other Japanese companies ever bothered with this sort of thing.

Always eager to latch onto new trends, Ohsato produced products for a huge variety of shows, many only of interest to Japanese audiences. Here's a perfect example: trading cards from "Detective Sanma," a parody-mystery series starring comedian Akashiya Sanma, which rocked Japanese airwaves in the mid-Eighties. If you find your loins a-quiver at the thought of completing your Ohsato collection with these, we strongly advise seeking professional help.

Ironically, while other more celebrated, risk-taking manufacturers like Popy, Clover, and Takatoku began dropping like flies in the mid-Eighties, Ohsato's low-key approach allowed it to survive...and thrive. (There's an Icarus analogy here, but we'll leave it for the lit majors.) Currently boasting relationships with numerous other manufacturers and even of having their own factory in Shanghai, Ohsato shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon. Everyone loves the story of a hard-working, determined underdog, and Ohsato fits the bill perfectly. If we're lucky, perhaps one day we'll even see their exploits portrayed ON THE TV!
[image] Gundam
[image] Gundam - white version
[image] Flying Jet Airplane - gliders
[image] Mechanical Robo Pura - VF-1S
[image] Mechanical Robo Pura - VF-1J Hikaru Type
[image] Gattai Robo Pura No. 1 - VF-1J Hikaru
[image] Gattai Robo Pura No. 2 - VF-1J Hikaru w. GBP armor
[image] Gattai Robo Pura No. 3 - Glaug Pod
[image] Gattai Robo Pura No. 4 - Destroid Tomahawk
[image] Gattai Robo Series Pt. 1 - Battroid Set
[image] Valkyrie & Variety Box Pt. 2
[image] Special 1 - Macro Dagurasu & Battroid Set
[image] Special 2 - Kaki Kaki Collection Set
[image] VF-1J Hikaru & SDF-1 rubber toy set
[image] Collectible Erasers set ("Korekushon Keshigomu")
[image] Meka Robo Pura - VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie
[image] Meka Robo Pura - Armored Valkyrie
[image] Mobile Kite
[image] Special Box / Big Winner
[image] Special Box Mini Card set Pt. 1 (#1- #60) [pic 2]
[image] Special Box Mini Card set Pt. 2 (#61- #121) [pic 2]
[image] Jumbo trading card set [pic 2]
[image] strung card set [pic 2, pic 3]
[image] Anime Film Collection Sticker set [pic 2, pic 3]
[image] Collection Sticker set Pt.1 [pic 2, pic 3, pic 4]
[image] Ban Ban Action Set Shooting Game
[image] Orguss Robo Series - Change Type (w. blue Orgroid)
[image] Orguss Robo Series - Change Type (w. brown Orgroid)
[image] Orguss Robo Series - Change Type (w. green Orgroid)
[image] Orguss Robo Series - Change Type (w. grey Orgroid)
[image] Orguss Robo Series - Change Type set
[image] Orguss Robo Series New Type - trading cards
[image] Orguss New Type set (w. grey Orgroid)
[image] Orguss New Type set (w. maroon Orgroid)
[image] Orguss Kaki Kaki Collection Set
[image] Gattai Change Type - Orgroid plastic model
[image] Special Box Mini Card set Pt. 1
[image] Flying Jet Airplane - gliders

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