Japan’s love of tiny trees and tiny toys combines in a beautiful way that still has space for you to show off your artistic side.
Japan is experiencing an unprecedented capsule toy boom, but calling them “toys” is sometimes a bit misleading. What’s sparked the sharp rise in popularity of gacha vending machine trinkets is that they’ve begun being designed to appeal not just to little kids, but to adults too.
Because of that, a lot of capsule toys aren’t the sort of things you actively play with, but rather tiny little decorations to keep at your work or study desk, as a relaxing, amusing, or otherwise emotionally pleasing object to gaze at when you need a pick-me-up. So why not combine Japan’s capsule toy craze with one of the country’s most popular touches of traditional aesthetics: the bonsai tree?
Tokyo-based capsule toy maker Beam has just announced its latest innovation, called Dry Bonsai. 400 yen (US$3.70) gets you one of five petite flora types, such as matsu (pine), satsuki (azalea), or keyaki (zelkova). However, these aren’t plastic replicas, but actual sets of real dried branches and leaves.
Dry Bonsai, which Beam is also billing as Gacha Bon, is being produced with the help of bonsai artist Shigeo Fujita, who specializes in bonsai cultivation that requires no special pruning or wire binding. The Dry Bonsai capsule toys come as an all-inclusive bundle that includes not only the plant material, but a miniature bowl, stand, dry moss, and even a bit of glue so that you can arrange everything just as you want it to be. Dimensions are approximately seven centimeters (2.8 inches) tall by four centimeters wide, making these extremely compact even by bonsai standards, but which also ensures that you’ll definitely have space for one, even if you don’t have a ton of empty real estate on your desk.
Dry Bonsai is scheduled to start showing up in capsule toy vending machines in Japan this November.