May 2nd, 2008
Greetings from Tokyo!
- It’s nice and balmy here in Tokyo, the cherry blossoms have bloomed and now little green leaves are taking over the trees. Last week, I was in NYC for the opening of the Theatre ALFORT exhibition titled Lilliput that is an installation art using Blythe as the subject matter. The Theater ALFORT art collective from Japan had their debut in our gallery (Gallery LELE) in Daikanyama two years ago. Lilliput was their 2nd show at LELE and it was an innovative installation using Blythe as an artistic medium. If you have a chance please visit gallery hanahou in Soho to take part in this interactive show. (You will know what I mean when you get there!)
The “Variety Fair” exhibition is being shown at Gallery LELE right now. This selection is one of the best ever and many of the contributions are winners from the past Blythe Beauty Contests.
And speaking of the Blythe Beauty Contest, the semi-finalists have been selected for the three categories, “Natural Beauty”, “Special Beauty” and “Petite Beauty” from all over the world. Now it is up to you and the judges to make the final choice. Voting will start in June – more information will be on our website.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this message. Please let me know when you drop by our shop in Tokyo, we love to meet with Blythe fans from around the world, so drop us a line, next time you are in Japan!
Cheers to Spring!
February 1st, 2005
Did you know that in Japan the girls give the boys presents on Valentines Day? Not the other way around. It’s usually chocolate and it’s a once in a year opportunity for a girl to show she is interested in someone. But on March 14 we have “White Day”. This is when the boys can return a gift to the girl to show they are also interested. The boys usually give the girls “real” gifts on that special day. I think it’s cute. Don’t you? To help the boys come up with ideas for the perfect gift we created a Petite in red sitting on a little single sofa called “I Love You It’s True”. Maybe my husband will buy me one. But first I have to get him some chocolate
A new dress set called “Street Flash” just came out. It comes with a reversible knit cap in black and red, black turtleneck, blue and black V neck sweater, khaki pants with a belt and chain, zip-up jumper, a sports utility bag, a pink frilly skirt, grey dotted spats, and black heels. It’s been a while since we made a dress set and the items in this set is very useful and easy to coordinate.
At Gallery LELE, we are having an exhibition of Mamechiyo’s captivating antique kimono collection. She is a modern kimono artist and very popular here in Japan. She is often on TV talk shows and featured in magazines as a specialist on the art of the contemporary Kimono. She also creates original products and has several books published with photos of her kimono arrangements. Mamechiyo’s Petite Blythe came out in January and her Neo Blythe will be out in late March. They are called “Margaret Meets Ladybug “. Neo is Margaret and Petite is Ladybug. A very lovely and touching tale of friendship, Margaret makes friends with a little ladybug and they go on picnics together and hold tea parties.
Speaking of kimonos, March 3 is Peach Blossom Day when girls celebrate being girls. We take out all our dolls and display them in the main living quarters and serve the dolls wine and sweets. We will definitely be celebrating this special holiday at Junie Moon this year! Hope you will too!
Have a loving February! Until next time,
March 1st, 2005
A Busy Month
Hello Blythe fans where ever you are! This is Junko Wong producer of Blythe dolls and agent for Gina from CWC in Tokyo.
It has been a busy month.Throughout February we had the “Blythe in Love” exhibition at Parco in Oita which was according to Parco the best show they had since opening their new gallery there. Then from March 2 – 8 we had the very last showing of “Art Attack” at Hankyu Department Store in Osaka before the dolls get auctioned off to charity starting April 29 on Yahoo.co.jp. I just want to announce here that MAKE A WISH has graciously allowed us to steer the donation funds to help the victims of the earthquake in Sumatra. We had originally pledged this year’s auction income to them but when we showed concern for the victims of the tsunami they wholehearted supported our desire to give to Japan Platform an organization that sends out volunteers to these tragedy struck areas. MAKE A WISH has a BIG HEART and we are proud to have been able to make a difference with them. The next event we will have is the traveling show “Behind Blythe” at Sunshine Sakae in Nagoya.
The first time we showed “Behind Blythe” at the opening exhibition of Gallery LELE in Junie Moon, everyone was excited because they got to see for the first time how Blythe is made. We will use the newest doll “Candy Carnival” as an example and show the first idea sketch phase, the many detailed samples of the outfits, the makeup and the changes we went through, the package design ideas, naming ideas, the product shots and finally the photograph of “Candy Carnival” by Gina which I proudly call the “Baptism” of Gina. (I really believe Gina’s photos breathe life into Blythe). The process is shown in a casual pin-up style that actually makes everything look simple. But even Picasso made cubism look simple. 🙂 This exhibit also comes with a line up of all of the anniversary dolls, the collaboration dolls, and examples of the first dolls with Licca body, the Excellent body, and the Superior faces as well as a parade of Petites in all their splendor and cuteness. The Junie Moon design illustrations and original one-off dolls and Gina’s amazing photos are all a part of this fun and fabulous exhibition.
The big news is that, after Nagoya this exhibition will start to travel…. guess where…..to North America. YES!! First, it will be shown at Magic Pony in Toronto starting April 30 through May where a photo festival is being held – and Gina is being featured! Both Gina and I will be at the opening of this show at Magic Pony on April 30!! We are so excited to meet all of you!!!!!! Later the show will travel to the west coast to Vancouver and shown at a toy boutique called Beans (dates to be announced) and it will travel on to San Francisco and other cities throughout the US. All dates and locations will be announced as the schedules are confirmed. This is the first time such a volume of the Blythe dolls will be together to say hi to people of North America. We are excited and grateful for this opportunity.
In the meantime, a few new dolls are arriving. One is the “Mamechiyo” collaboration doll that comes out this month. She is so beautiful and classy and thoroughly modern all at the same time. We love love love her. And then there is” V Smash”! She has freckles, auburn hair and looks like she could be a cousin to Nike’s Courtney Tez or Kirsten Dunst in Wimbelton*_*/Talk about classy. She has a tennis racket and three tennis balls that fit right into a container. Makes me want to take up tennis again. And finally, the newest little Petite to come out is “Fluffy Cuddly Bedtime” which is Blythe as a little sheep in pajamas holding a pillow ready to snooze. That should cure all insomnia. By the way, Petite is pronounced “Pu – chi ” and speaking of Bedtime, it’s 11:30 pm and time for me to go….beddy bi.
Have a good spring!
May 1st, 2005
I hope this Japan Beat finds everyone well and happy. I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Toronto with two of my favorite CWC ladies. BEHIND BLYTHE was the occasion. This was our first trip to North America to bring a sampling of many of the Blythe we have produced. We are very grateful to Magic Pony for allowing us to display the dolls we sweated and cried over to create and improve over the past four years. The highlight of the trip, of course, was meeting the many sweet and kind Blythe lovers and their Blythe dolls. Every single person we met was genuine, sincere and radiant. We fell in love with them and hope to see them again somehow, somewhere. And we appreciate so much, the time they spent to talk to us and make us feel welcome. The memories are all very good. And I think maybe I made a few new friends.
After we returned, however, to my horror and disappointment, we found that there were many Margaret Meets Lady Bug dolls with damaged lips. We consulted with Takara to quickly (but to some Blythe fans not quickly enough) find out exactly what was the cause. How many actually were damaged, how the problem could be solved? This process involved the manufacturer, the factory, the QC department, the shipping company, the Hong Kong office, the printing company, the packing company, the customer service staff, the translators, the design team, our shop staff, our English language support and the Japanese language support. Schedules were confirmed with all of the above and letters were sent to all the customers individually that bought the doll as they were sold by lottery and we had their email addresses.
Limited Edition dolls are always special but they are also always an experiment. This is one of the reasons we keep the numbers limited (it’s like making prototypes each time). The process from start to finish takes about one year. We try to be as innovative as possible with the doll as well as the package. When we work with a collaborator we try to realize their ideas and their wishes as much as possible within the guidelines of the toy industry and with the reality that the product will be made in a factory by machines. We hope that each Limited Edition doll is unique in its own right and that whoever purchases one will fall in love with her. We appreciate the feedback and positive criticism that will help us improve with each new doll.
The next two Limited Editions are taking longer to complete than originally planned. That includes the summer doll with Roxy and the anniversary limited, Cinema Princess. We are looking forward to seeing how they will turn out and hope you will, too.
I have to get back to work now to get our 4th-anniversary event rolling. In just two more weeks we will be seeing the one-off original Blythe styled by invited designers and artists walk the catwalk. I hope some of you will be able to come to Japan for this event. If so, PLEASE let me know you are visiting. I would want you to be a part of all the festivities.
August 1st, 2005
Greetings From Tokyo!
This is Junko Wong back from America. What a long trip! Being away from home for more than a month really made me appreciate my pillow. Traveling is fun but there is no bed better than my own.
The biggest news now is that www.thisisblythe.com is now bi-lingual! You can find information about Blythe, events, promotions, Blythe photographs by Gina Garan, and original Blythe animations made by the Junie Moon creative team and more on this site. Also, for the first time, Japan Beat will be available in Japanese!
The purpose of our trip was to attend the USA License show at the Jarvits Center in mid-June to introduce some of the characters from the CWC Group and a family reunion with my husband’s family at Martha’s Vineyard, research Los Angeles for Behind Blythe and to attend our first Comic Convention in San Diego! (My Blythe Chrystal went everywhere with me- see photos!)
Blythe was at Comic Con in three different booths.The Hasbro booth, the Super 7 booth, and the Chronicle Booth. The Junie Moon team got there a little early to set up the Hasbro showcases with 5 different Mlle. Rosebuds all done up gorgeous! We permed her hair, braided it and styled each one differently in the Rosebud outfits that they looked like totally different dolls. People stopped to stare. We were happy when we heard “she’s adorable”! We also brought a line up of Petites (pronounced puchi) and were happily surprised at how many people were actually interested in her. Petite Blythe is very special to us because we developed her from scratch. Many, many people wanted to know if they were for sale. It was fun to line them up and make them look like they were on parade.
Hasbro sold some Mlle Rosebud at the Comic Con and each person who bought a doll was given a free summer fan with Gina’s classic photos. The fans are available only in Japan and there are only 200 available through Hasbro. For information about purchasing Blythe outside of Asia please contact email@example.com. We also showed Asian Butterfly and Samedi Marche which will be available in the USA in Autumn this year. They will be SBL and not EBL. The EBL mold has seen its day, it is tired and overworked so the factory has retired the EBL and though everyone loves it we have to set it aside. However, we are working on a new mold to replace the EBL. Please be patient and understanding as we slave over details.
At the Super 7 booth, we showed Mamechiyo’s Margaret Meets Ladybug. She will be available at the Behind Blythe exhibition which opens on August 6 and will run for most of August. We are planning an exhibition for Ms. Mamechiyo – pop kimono artist at Magic Pony in Toronto as well in October (more news on that next month) so Margaret will be in Toronto at that time too.
At the Chronicle booth “Blythe Style” was promoted. This book originally published by CWC Books will be available in America later this year. (more news on that once dates are confirmed)
Gina was there to sign and it was fun to meet new Blythe fans at this event. Next year will be the 5th anniversary of the Blythe resurrection and I truly hope we will have visitors from around the world to celebrate this wonderful event! We hope to see you there with your favorite girl!
December 1st, 2005
This is Junko Wong from CWC with the latest Japan Beat. Sorry to keep you all waiting for a long time. I have had a busy few months running around with the Behind Blythe Exhibition. So far this year, we have been to Magic Pony in Toronto, Beans in Vancouver, Super 7 in San Francisco, Rotofugi in Chicago and Robot Love in Minneapolis.
Thank you so much to the people who came to the Portland show. I was so relieved to see fans with Blythe, you don’t how grateful we were to have you there. There were many people there who never laid their eyes on our beautiful girl and I think we were able to turn a few heads and hearts our way. The show continues for another couple of weeks so please stop by!
The photo contest winner’s postcard book is nearly done. It’s amazing how the quality of the photography improves each year. This year we had entries from the USA and guess what! The Miss Popularity winner is American! The pictures in the book also show different seasons and can be used for many heartfelt correspondences. It’s nice to get a real letter in the mail these days. Don’t you agree?
The biggest news is the announcement of the upcoming Beauty Contest. The call for entries will be posted on thisisblythe.com soon. We know there are Blythe fans in the US and Canada that do amazing things with Blythe and we really hope they will participate. This contest will be open to all. Don’t be shy, get together with a friend and dress up and primp your girl and enter her in the first Blythe Beauty Contest titled “Who’s the Fairest of Them All”. The winners will be exhibited at the 5th Anniversary event at the Spiral Hall in Tokyo.
March 1st, 2004
Hello from Japan where plum blossoms are beginning to bloom and strong northern winds are blowing as we prepare for the coming of Spring. Not only is Spring coming our way but three new Blythe dolls as well. In Japan, like everywhere else, we have Valentine’s Day on February 14. But somehow gift giving on this day became the girl’s role and her chance to declare her love, like leap year in America but here it’s every February 14. Since it is the etiquette in Japan to always return a gift to someone who gave to you, another holiday was created on March 14 for the boy to return a gift to the girl. For this reason, we have created a doll named “I Love You It’s True” which will be out in March. But please know that the name also refers to our exclamation of love for Blythe herself. Also, in March we will produce a renewed version of “Sunday’s Best” and call her “Sunday’s Very Best”. She will have the new superior body. And finally also coming out in March is our first fashion designer collaboration with the very popular Japanese design team Over the Stripes’ called “Happy Every Day” Totally Harajuku with 10 original OTS t-shirts and a pet chihuahua, short hair with a beauty mark and a special grey eye color. This girl really “rocks”. You can see the photos of these dolls later in March on thisisblythe.com
Don’t forget March 3 is Girls Day in Japan also known as Plum Blossom Day. This is the day you bring out all your dolls and display them for people to see. It will bring you lots of luck and prosperity for a happy life.
April 1st, 2004
Message to all Blythe Fans!
Message to Blythe fans from Junko Wong, creative producer of Blythe doll in Asia and worldwide agent and producer for Gina Garan)
It’s spring! Tokyo is completely covered in Blythe’s favorite color, pink! (see our photo of Petite in her traditional graduation kimono). Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom for just about a week. We have to hurry to our favorite park with our picnic goods and enjoy the fleeting beauty before its too late or we will have to wait until next year. It’s also the time of the year when students start their new school year. There is a children’s song titled “When Cherry Blossoms Bloom I Will be in First Grade!”. So cute.
April is the start of our fiscal new year, school year and also when fresh university graduates start their first real jobs in companies. It is also the start of a whole new line of Blythe dolls we have planned for 2004. We are still working on the final touches for the dolls coming out in May and June. But as we patiently wait for the dolls, a postcard book of photos by the fans who placed in the December 2003 photo contest “Mix and Match” will be published. This postcard book will be published in two parts, part one in April and part two in June. The winners are amazingly talented and the different perspectives make this postcard book fun to have! We also produced a couple of notebooks and memo pads as well as puffy stickers. All of these items (I must brag) are very, very cute and truly adorable. Almost as cute as Blythe herself (well, not quite).
May 1st, 2004
Hello everyone! This is Junko Wong, producer of Blythe and creative agents for Gina Garan. It is Golden Week here in Japan!! Which means we ( the whole country of Japan) go on holiday from today April 29 t0 May 5. Most of the country will get in their car and travel within the country or get on a plane and go on their dream vacation. This year, as usual, the number one holiday destination is Hawaii with Guam and Italy following second and third. Narita was a traffic jam today. I’m glad Gina is coming at a slower time! Whew!
Today was also the renewal opening for our shop Junie Moon. Wow! Talk about a traffic jam. Over 200 people waited in line to get into our teeny tiny store in Daikanyama. But it was fun and an energetic day for Blythe. The store is now all white interior with a bay window and a DIY section for all the talented souls that make their own creations for Blythe. It also has a mini gallery that features original handmade dolls and craft art that is curated by Blythe herself!!! The line up of Blythe was satisfying for many of the fans plus a few new products such as the “Mix and Match” Photo Contest Winner’s postcard book and puffy stickers were sold today for the first time.
Next month will be a busy one. Until then I need to store up some energy by resting up this Golden Week. If you are ever in the neighborhood please drop by Junie Moon and say hi!
Take care and cheers!!
July 1st, 2004
It’s So Hot!
Message to Blythe fans from Junko Wong, creative producer of Blythe doll in Asia and worldwide agent and producer for Gina Garan)
How many times do we have to say “It’s so hot today!” without sounding like we have nothing better to say? Well, if you were in Tokyo right now, that is all you would be saying. Everyone has different ways of describing the heat though, like “it’s hot like the jungle”, “it’s hot like India”, “it’s hot like the frying pan” or “it’s hot like Art Attack!” And yes, Art Attack was indeed “hot”. I think this year’s event outdid any we have had so far. The 70 one-off dolls were dressed to kill by their creators such as Boy George, a friend of Gina’s, as well as many of the CWC clients and friends like Paul Smith, Milk, Chiso and Hibino Katsuhiko. You can see most of the dolls in the book “Blythe Style” plus all of the other dolls that participated in the past charity events, all beautifully photographed by Gina. We were proud to have a delegate from “Make a Wish” in the audience who stood up to be recognized. We think they are doing a wonderful job for the children with life-threatening illnesses. In fact, since we have been doing this charity I have, by coincidence, met a few families who have taken advantage of the service they offer. My friend’s grandson who is 9 years old is ill with a rare blood disease and need bone marrow transplants. MAW took him and his whole family to Disney World. They had a blast.
Anyway, this event will be showing at the Venus Fort Shopping Center in Odaiba this July and will travel to Osaka in March of 2005. Then sometime in April or May, the dolls will be auctioned off on Yahoo. The auction has been approved by Hasbro to be held internationally so anyone can participate. Please check www.thisisblythebl.com for information about the events and auctions. This official Blythe site is slowly become bilingual starting with news and other announcements and we have a suite for Gina there too. So see you there!
September 1st, 2004
Hello from Japan! This is Junko Wong reporting for Gina Garan’s Blythe site from very rainy Tokyo. I don’t even think it was rain. It was more like a waterfall from the sky. Of course, I was out all day snugly getting a haircut before it started raining with no umbrella, oblivious to what was going on until I stepped out and there it was, Mississippi River in the middle of Tokyo. Every September as far as I can remember the typhoons and hurricanes sweep down from Southeast Asia to Japan. Now we know summer is definitely over.
Fall is a busy time for us as we prepare for the winter events and products. This year Gina is not going to make it to Japan for the Christmas events so we are planning something for March in addition to everything else we do. We will keep you all posted as to what and when this event will take place. Actually, I just can’t wait to hold the newborn so an event is a great excuse to get them over here!! I am an expert when it comes to baby boys!
WE HAVE BIG NEWS. I have been granted permission to sell Blythe Style outside of Asia. However, we only a very few left until we reprint them. If you are interested in getting this book please hurry and write to me. For foreign orders, we only take credit cards and will ship out once the credit clears. You can download the form at shopping via the www.thisisblythe.com site.
We will be redesigning some of the books for the English language market before we have the book distributed worldwide. That will be awhile from now. Whatever books we have left now are the original first print in both English and Japanese.
Here is Some Blythe doll news. A really cute Limited Edition Petite just came out. Her name is “Princess Tutuphant” and is a pink elephant wearing a tutu. She makes a really cute mascot. I sewed on a little loop on the back of her head and she now hangs on my handbag. Also, the ToysRus Limited Edition “Birdie Blue” is also out. We have only 500 left. People with Asian addresses can buy anything online via the shopping site. But unfortunately, nothing can be shipped outside of Asia. Except for Blythe Style!
We will also be translating thisisblythe.com into English soon so that anyone can access and be a member. We hope to have joint events and exhibition with Thisisblythe.com and have a big happy family of Blythe lovers unite for peace and fun.
October 1st, 2004
Message to Blythe fans from Junko Wong, creative producer of Blythe doll in Asia and worldwide agent and producer for Gina Garan:
Hello Blythe Fans! This is Junko Wong from CWC Tokyo, producer of Blythe and Gina.
Everyone is asking ” Where can I get Samedi Marche?” She is not a limited edition doll so if a shop put in their normal order they should have it on hand but it’s possible that a lot of stores did not order their usual number because they still have other dolls in stock. She is adorable I must say but so is Groovy Groove who is coming soon with a little “Dakko chan” hugging her sleeve. “Dakko chan” is a Takara signature mascot from the 60’s. I used to have one when I was about 10 years old. It’s inflatable and clings onto your arm like a little monkey.
Here’s some good news for fans down under. Popsicle, opening in November in Auckland, New Zealand will carry Blythe goods directly imported from CWC. Get in touch with them and they will support your needs! This is a special case approved by Hasbro and we are so happy that we can finally supply outside of Asia. Get in touch and tell them what you want and hopefully, they can help you!
296 Broadway, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand
We are so busy with the preparation for the winter festivities. CWC will be moving location and so will Junie Moon and the CWC gallery. Our plan is to re-open on December 4, 2004 on Hachiman Dori in Daikanyama, Tokyo not far from our present office. Our new address will be 4-3, 1F Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. The first floor will be the shop Junie Moon and within the shop in the back, we will have a little art gallery called Gallery LeLe. Our first exhibition starting from December 4 – 12 will be Blythe fashion designs and package design illustrations created and produced by CWC. The second exhibition will be a “Mitten” exhibition produced by Mov starting from December 14 to January 10. In the meantime, Junie Moon is having a Moving Sale from Nov. 9 to Nov. 21, 20-40% off on a variety of goods.
It’s getting chilly in Japan. And the typhoon is coming AGAIN. Keep warm everyone and for those of you doing the Halloween Bash, have fun!
December 1st, 2004
Hello Blythe Fans!
Hello Blythe Fans! This is Junko Wong from CWC Tokyo, producer of Blythe and Gina.
The colors of the leaves on the gingko trees have turned a bright yellow. Autumn is here and winter on its way. As the season change, so will we at CWC. We are bringing our office, gallery, and shop together in one location to minimize and economize. We were spread out here and there with three different spaces to account for and now we are finally together in one place. I hope this will allow us to be more efficient and productive for the sake of Blythe. We will start our new journey in our new location starting December 4, 2004. The shop is called Junie Moon and the gallery Le Le. “Le Le” is a Hawaiian word for “walking – moving forward”.
As you know we are working on trying to get Blythe outside of Asia. Please be patient as it is not our choice to keep her exclusive for Asia.
A collaboration doll with the Japanese fashion brand MILK who dons a sassy pink dress and a plush pink fur bolero will be out in December. MILK proved to be a popular brand within Blythe circles and was a successful fundraiser at the Make a Wish charity auction. This doll comes with a round carrying case that is retro fifties in style and so cool it is a must-have fashion item for all Blythe fans. Her hair is the colour of milk tea and her lips painted full and luscious.
Groovy Groove with reddish brown hair is the doll of the season. She has a tulip hat and a dakko chan ( a monkey like a mascot) that clings to her knees. Gina just finished taking adorable pictures of her. These photos will be part of the first exhibition at Gallery Le Le titled “Behind Blythe” that will feature the designs, illustrations, and concepts that take place behind the making of the neo-Blythe dolls that is produced by CWC.
We have had a lot of requests from fans to have different coloured hair for Blythe. Asian Butterfly, Mlle. Rosebud, Art Attack, Disco Boogie are examples of dolls with non-conventional hair colour.. Please let me explain how we get hair for Blythe. Her hair is made of a fiber called SARAN. This is the only fiber that is legally approved by the safety council to be used for mass production. Because of this many other dolls you know also uses SARAN. But Blythe is definitely the only doll that uses a lot of it due to the size of her head. We have to reserve the fiber 6 – 8 months in advance according to the colours available in SARAN. And even then, sometimes the colour we request cannot be made available in the bulk we wish for. We also have to wait in line to make these requests because there are other dolls also waiting for hair. But please know that even with the many production challenges we face, we will work towards fulfilling your requests to the best of our abilities. We have already put in an order to reserve beautiful sky blue hair for Blythe to be made available to us sometime early next year.
This was a long Japan Beat! Happy Thanksgiving and talk to you again soon!!
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