I was under the impression that this was a long-running tradition in Japan, but if this article is to be believed, apparently marketing toys toward adult males is a relatively new phenomenon over there.
With the birth rate declining in Japan, toymakers are hoping to gain new revenue from grown-ups, by offering realistic miniatures that make full use of cheaper and smaller motors, chips, sensors and batteries.
Lower prices for components mean that even robots are becoming affordable for the holidays.
“You can build a robot for less than 100,000 yen ($870) now that can stand up, walk, do push-ups, back flips and dance,” said Yamato Goto, spokesman at Tsukumo Robot Kingdom, a Tokyo retailer that specializes in robots. More people in their 30s to 50s are buying kits such as those made by Kondo Kagaku, he said.
Sega Toys (7842.Q) hopes to lift sales to adults by 50 percent in four years to March 2010 to 11.3 billion yen with products such as pet robots and miniature pianos with real keys, and projectors that transform a home ceiling into a planetarium.
So, it sounds more like Japanese dad nerds are rocking the “nutty gadgets” as opposed to, say, action figures. I mean, an adult would have to have a screw loose to buy those, right? RIGHT? HAHAHAHA!