MEME9 (1)

The term sofubi is a nostalgic one for those who claim childhood anywhere between 1960s – 1980s Japan. Spawning from a movement of superheroes like Ultraman and his counterpart kaiju, sofubi (an abbreviation for Soft Vinyl) figurines became ubiquitous in almost every household. However, sofubi, and the artisanal craft that gives form to these figurines, are slowly dying; they are being replaced by electronics and other high-tech toys.

But Yuta Osugi is not trying to reclaim his childhood. In fact, the 26-year old designer, after graduating from art school and spending 3 years at a toy maker, is trying to breathe new life into a lost art form. He just launched his new toy brand this year and is calling it MEME9, in hopes that his artistic line of futuristic toys will “element of a culture to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means.” All the figurines from MEME9 are made in Japan, the same way there were made 50 years ago.

MEME9 is being showcased during Tokyo Design Week 2013.

MEME9 (5)MEME9 (6)

MEME9 (2)

MEME9 (3)

MEME9 (4)

This post is part of a series covering the 2013 Tokyo Designers Week.