I started collecting Japanese toys in the very early 1980's. The collecting eventually led to going to Tokyo to find these cool toys, and opening a Japanese toy store in 1985, originally called ModernToys (sm), and later RightBrain/LeftBrain (sm). Japan has been making THE coolest toys for a very long time, and most of them are not made for export, so they stay in the country. Except for a few Japanese-owned toy stores on the West Coast, and in New York, you couldn't find these toys in the States. So, I opened a store in Dallas, Texas, and ran that until the late 90's when the dollar became too weak AND there was a sudden growth in Japanese collectors. In the 80's, the Japanese didn't care that much for their own toys. Funny, huh?
What attracted me to the toys was the breadth of imagination. Japanese toy designers applied everything from Native American iconography, Kabuki imagery and insects to streamlined, futuristic Space Age forms. They also have the greatest sense of humor (see above).
I've put a few of my toys on my website for anyone interested. Check out my ModernToys (sm) Museum. You can click on each thumbnail to see the whole toy.