Bandai Co Ltd
Bandai Co Ltd is a Japanese toy making and video game company headquartered in Taito, Tokyo. It is the world’s third largest producer of toys.
Bandai was formed in July 1950 by President Naoharu Yamashina. The company was based in the Kikuya-bashi region of Asakusa in Taito Ward, Tokyo.
Yamashina founded his company with 1 million yen in capital. In the beginning, Bandai sold celluloid toys, metallic toys (passenger cars), and rubber swimming rings.
Development throughout the 1950s
In September 1950, Bandai’s first original product was launched, the Rhythm Ball. The company commenced export sales in March 1951.
Later than year, in April 1951, Bandai introduced its first original metallic toy, the B-26.
In July 1953, Bandai established its own R&D department to improve the quality of its toy range and develop new products. Its transport division also commenced operations.
Bandai’s Toyopet Crown model car was released in November 1955. The company would eventually issue its “Cars of the World” model car series in 1959.
July 1958 witness the broadcast of Bandai’s first television advertisement with the catchphrase: “the Red-Box means a BC-guaranteed toy.” Continuing its emphasis on quality, Bandai adopted a company log stressing emphasis on product quality known as teh “Banzai mark”.
Bandai Toys Company was established in July 1960, before later changing its name to Bandai in 1961.
Landmark releases for the company included Astroboy, launched as Bandai's first TV-character toy, in December 1963, and its first remote control car which was a huge hit in 1964. A racing car set – later known as Scalextric – followed.
1974 saw the Super-alloy Mazinger Z become a big hit. Bandai, Popy and Tonka Japan coordinate the industry's first-ever joint press newspaper advertising campaign in December 1974.
In August 1976, First exports of Jumbo Machine-der – similar to like Mazinger Z - to Mattel of the US. It became a best-seller under the brand name "Shogun."
Since the 1980s, Bandai established itself as Japan’s leading toy company. Today, it still retains the main toy licenses in Japan. Bandai’s popular properties include, among others:
- Super Robot
- Mega Man
- Kamen Rider
- Super Sentai and Power Rangers (the latter being its United States spin-off)
Combattra Godaikin, a 33 cm (13 inches) high Shogun Warrior Super Hero dated to 1982, sold for £3,000 at Phillips De Pury in New York in April 2008. Another robot from this series is held in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Toys manufactured by Bandai in the 1990s are also increasingly valued as collectors’ items. At the same Phillips De Pury sale, a 50.8cm Ultraman DX from 1992 – billed as “an art toy” – sold for £2,200. It’s features included a included battery operated blue, red and yellow chest lights operated through remote control.
Bandai’s “Cars of the World” series has also proved valuable at auction. Germany’s Antico Mondo Auktionen sold a tin Cirtroen DS 19 by Bandai for €1,600 over its €450 pre-sale estimate in May 2008.