January 03 2016 Sunday at 12:30 AM

Lulubell Toy Bodega Visits Kamijo Mold Factory!!! Pt. 1

Today, we're going to take a semi - intricate, two - part look, at my visit to Kamijo Co. Mold Manufacturer. Founded in 1907, Kamijo Co. has been universally known for its outstanding quality in mold making, ranging from its original production through blow molds(which you'll see) making fishing tackles, to what we currently know as the copper metal molds in sofubi production. As it last stood during my visit, the workplace was comprised of an eight member team, led by current company president, and fifth generation family owner, MakotoIsao Kamijo. It is a tight knit, well organized and highly productive system, for which is absolutely nothing short of oustanding. We spent a good portion of the afternoon taking a detailed look at each step of the process in metal mold making. After the break, please feast your eyes on the amazing, and incredibly hard working process, that takes our toy artists' beloved original sculpts, and solidifies them in copper fame! Enjoy!

- Robert

An original blow mold for making miniature fishing tackle. 

Notice the rounded entry point at the front of the mold. This is where a straw would be placed, for air to be blown in, to expand the plastic sheet you'll soon see.

 

The aforementioned celluloid sheets! Two different textures, for a glossy final product, or a matte!

Here, we have a fully produced example from the blow mold! One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.

The exact date escapes me, but these are incredibly old and longstanding Japanese toys. Mickey and Minnie, of course!

A two - part mold that was developed after the blow molds. Somewhat of a first generation metal mold.

With the two pieces clamped together, the vinyl would be poured inside of an upside down mold, and put into an over to "cook". Sort of like tradition baking!

A plaque given to Kamijo Co., recognizing its hard work, excellence and longstanding in the industry.

One of the first children's toys ever produced out of Kamijo Co.

You know those generally tiny stamps of kanji on the bottom of sofubi toys' feet, stating the maker and its production in Japan? These are the tools that take care of that job!

And this is the man that does it all, carefully and meticulously, by hand!

Not only is he responsible for the hand stamped signatures, he also molds and attaches the "flash" joints you'd previously read about on the wax molds. Also by hand! Immaculate!

Each tool has its place and an exact use!

Many of these tools are handmade, to fit a strict and precise purpose.

Just one wall showcasing decades worth of production samples.

Here, we have a shelf displaying some production samples, as well. It's Kewpie!

This is a toy box from Majoto - San's childhood! It now serves as a display piece for its memories and sentiment in the factory!

Only a portion of the current toys Kamijo Co. has made metal molds for!

This is the break room window. Kamijo Co. staff are kept in such great company during meals!

Both this display, and the previous, are all productions of Kamijo Co. You'll certainly find some familiars, as well as fan favorites.

Giant Tetsujin, discolored from many, many years in display of the window, as well as general aging.

One of Japan's most adored, original creations. Godzilla, King of Monsters!

Yoshiki - San's "The Guyver", accompanied by Astro Boy and Godzilla!

Join me next week, when we go inside of the factory for a firsthand look. Stay tuned!!!