The “Oho Kanteidan” appraiser joins the fray! The front line of the hot miniature car boom! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The “Oho Kanteidan” appraiser joins the fray! The front line of the hot miniature car boom!

Japan's largest miniature car and plastic model festival will be held again this year. Automotive journalist Kumiko Kato covers the attraction of this year's event in depth.

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One of the largest events in Japan, “Wonderland Market. The market was packed with visitors as soon as the doors opened.

There is a retro hobby that is secretly attracting attention as a new hobby for the Corona disaster victims. It is “miniature cars.

The market is said to be booming like never before, not only because of the demand for miniature cars as nest eggs, but also because of the aging of miniature car owners in recent years and the increasing number of people who are parting with their premier retro miniature cars as part of asset liquidation.

The author therefore attended “Wonderland Market” (commonly known as “Wonder”), one of the largest miniature car events in Japan, held in April. I experienced firsthand the excitement of the event. The event is held three times a year and is organized by Motomachi Sunset, an antique toy store run by Kikuo Uno, a well-known appraiser on “Kaiun Nandemo Kanteidan” (TV Tokyo). The event has a long history, having been held 110 times this year. The first event was held in 1981.

The sight of the large number of miniature cars and plastic models lined up is a sight to behold.

The venue is the Yokohama Industrial Trade Hall facing Yamashita Park in Yokohama. General admission opens at 10:00 a.m., but by the time I arrived at the venue at 9:00 a.m., many people were already lined up and numbered tickets were being handed out.

Upon entering the venue, one could find a wide variety of miniature cars, plastic models, antique toys, old car catalogs, magazines, posters, and miscellaneous items for sale. Out of print Tomicas and limited edition “Hot Wheels” were priced at several tens of thousands of yen, and the most expensive one I saw was a Nissan Fairlady Z miniature car purchased in Germany and priced at 90,000 yen.

A FAIRLADY Z was the most expensive item seen at the event, with some items having sold for up to 400,000 yen in the past.

One exhibitor who sold a large number of plastic models said, “I want to get rid of them.

A friend of mine in his 80s brought some of the approximately 2,000 plastic models he had received for the purpose of decluttering his collection to Wonder this time. I was surprised to see how many valuable items he had collected over the years.

He brought about 100 of the 2,000 pieces, but quite a few had been sold before the event opened to the public, and the pile of treasured plastic models dwindled with each passing booth, with only a few pieces left before noon.

Teruhisa Kitahara (right) and organizer Kikuo Uno were among the visitors. Both are well-known appraisers on “Oho Kanteidan. According to Mr. Uno, “The attraction of Wonder is the quality of the exhibitors, the quality of the customers, and the quality of the toys sold.

At the event, we also saw Mr. Teruhisa Kitahara, one of the world’s leading toy collectors. He has been participating in the event since its inception.

I have attended almost every show since the first one 41 years ago,” he said. I have known the organizer, Mr. Uno, for a long time. I have a wide collection of toys myself, so Wonder is something I look forward to three times a year. There are still many toys and miniature cars that I don’t own (laughs). (Laughs) Every time I go to Wonder, I find a bargain or something I’ve always wanted, so I really look forward to it.

A man from Chiba Prefecture who has been a collector for 30 years explains how he enjoys Wonder.

He has been collecting for 30 years. “To find treasures, you have to come here first thing in the morning. Some stores announce in advance which miniature cars they will be selling at Wonder. The morning is also the best time to meet fellow minicar enthusiasts. Many of the regulars spend the early morning hours looking for treasures and the afternoon hours looking for bargains.

After 11:00 a.m., many of the stores were already offering discounts. Miniature cars that were priced at 3,000 yen in the morning were reduced by half to 1,500 yen, and those that were priced at 500 yen each were reduced to 300 yen. After 3:00 p.m., many stores started to clean up, and the event ended in the evening with a great success.

The next event will be held in July. Those who want to reunite with their old miniature cars or are looking for a new hobby may want to visit the event.

  • Interview, text, and photos Kumiko Kato

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