Barbie has a secret: she may have been dreamed up in the US, but she came to life in a Tokyo hotel room.
Great stuff! I wonder why anything about Japan was suppressed. Was it because "Made in Japan" was initially associated with poor quality?
Great article, Matt! Thanks for the insight.
Loved this, Matt! This hit pretty close to home as I also have an interest in fashion dolls. I’d known about the integral part that Japanese manufacturers(and the group of super-skilled seamstresses) played in getting Barbie off the ground for Mattel, but getting the details of Miyatsuka-san’s contributions was a treat! Might have to see if I can track down a copy of her book.
Postscript for those who enjoyed the article: it might surprise you to know KBK is still in business! They specialize in making toy vehicles now. https://note.com/kokusaiboeki/
This was never a big secret. You're not giving away secrets here. Barbie was manufactured in Japan. Most of the toys in the United States today are manufactured in Asia.
Interesting! A side to Japan's 1950s economic return to form that I hadn't heard about before.