Masks of Popular Characters
Cartoon characters are wildly popular with Japanese children. This photograph of a toy and souvenir stand in Tokyo, taken in October 2007, displays some of the most popular at that time. As can be seen, the masks include characters easily recognizable as imports from the US and Greats Britain, such as Mickey Mouse and Thomas the Tank Engine, as well as characters not as recognizable in the US, such as An Pan Man (top row, second from left. An Pan Man is a popular cartoon featuring an animated anpan, or bean paste bread, a popular treat for Japanese children.) American children will also easily recognize many of the Japanese characters, such as Kitty-chan, Pokeman, and the Power Rangers, which were created in Japan and have achieved widespread international popularity. This photograph can be used to easily and concretely introduce the idea of the global movement of ideas and material culture. Anpan-man can also be seen in this photo associated with a Shinto coming of age ceremony.