Saturday, November 20, 2021

Black Rotary Phone & Other Miniatures | Merchandise

In 2002, toy manufacturer Takara released a "Showa Memories" series of miniature sets that recreated nostalgic items from 1950's / 1960's Japan. The theme was a Japanese hot springs inn, and in fact each of the sets was sold with a packet of bath salts.

For Shenmue fans, a number of items in these sets are just like those found around the Hazuki residence.

The second set shown above, which features a telephone, has items that a guest might typically encounter in their room during a stay at the hot springs inn:

Looking at the items in this set more closely, we have:
  • A black rotary-dial telephone, a low marble-patterned stand on which lie a black purse. 

This style of phone can of course be seen in the front entrance hall at the Hazuki residence

  • A well-used guest book, a calligraphy brush on a brush holder, and an ink well with ink stick. The guest book has the name of the hot springs resort on the front in tiny writing (Takara no Yu, being a play on the company's name but also meaning "Hot Spring of Treasure"). 

This brings to mind Iwao Hazuki's hobby of calligraphy, and he would have used similar tools for writing the letter that Ryo discovers he has left for him in his room.
  • Finally, there is a small brown bottle of an anti-itch ointment that was common in the day - complete with a box for the bottle (which comes as a small pre-printed cut-out sheet with instructions for folding into shape!).

Each of the objects is only a few centimeters in size, and have been crafted with superb attention to detail. 
Each item is tiny: here is a size comparison with a 5-yen coin.

Items such as these miniatures represent the interest in nostalgia/retro that is sweeping Japan, just as in other parts of the world; the Shenmue games also offer this same opportunity to enjoy the world as it once was.

For Collectors

These miniature sets are now well out of production, but our friends at Retro Import Gamer currently have one available here on their Ebay store.

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