Mr.H/Collector(1)

When I asked Mr. H to tell me his story, he complained that his name would be revealed in this blog.

“No, you can be anonymous.” I said.

“Some interviews on this blog until now are anonymous.”

 

Although I got his consent in this way, his acquaintances will see through that this interviewee is Mr. H, if they read the episodes in this blog.

That is because Mr. H’s stories are unforgettable if they are heard once, and because he has numerous acquaintances.

When I express Mr. H’s characteristic in a word, I would say that he is a person who buys things abundantly.

The genre is various. From superalloys to magazines, the fields of his interest are superhumanly wide.

 

One day, on Yahoo Auction, Mr. H found a thing that he had been looking for and joined the bidding enthusiastically.

There was a tough rival who would not readily give up.

Mr. H got excited and continued increasing his bid in sequence and won it at last at an exorbitant price.

But, before he savored the joy of victory, he heard unfortunate news.

The fact is,the oppnent in the fierce battle was Mr.H’s acquaintance. He continued increasing the price without retreating one step backwards to get the thing for Mr.H and they fought the intense dogfight・・・What a sinking feeling!

“This is called “Mr. H’s one-man auction”,” his acquaintance A testifies.

 

 

Mr. H’s heroic episodes where he continues to buy things avidly knows no bounds. Therefore, he has suffered quite a lot of damage from fakes so far.

He bought an original picture of “Tetsujin 28-gou” by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, whose mounting on Japanese paper was hurt and was stuck on a square card again. This was a counterfeit.

 

Mr. H said,     

“Mr. Tsujinaka, an executive vice president of Mandarake, showed it to the president Furukawa, and said that Mr. Furukawa uttered “Why did he buy a terrible one like this?””

“Hmm, how much was the price?” I asked.

“210, 000.”

“210, 000 yen?!”

I was astonished.

“Then, did you complain to the seller?”

“I did. But I’m the one to blame. The deal was made, so it is no use even if I said.”

I couldn’t accept this and grumbled, but Mr. H was graceful in accepting.

 

“Some innocent third persons buy and sell fakes, so nothing can be done about it even if I pay a high price. After all, it’s all my fault.”

Is it really like that? I still grumbled.

As a man who has been standing in the battlefield of deals for many years, he was bold.

 

Mr. H. A brave man who has been searching for his targets for several decades and has engaged in many desperate battles. Numerous sword wounds on his body, romanticism in his soul, a toy in his arm. He longs for things as if he longed for a princess, and he has gone the un-walked road. This is a story of passion.

 

Mr.H/ Collector (2)

Mr. H was born as the eldest son into a down-to-earth family in 1967. The family had not a trace of an enthusiast’s feel, but he tended to be attracted to the world of the cheap candy shop by nature. In 1972, this little child was faced with a great problem in his life for the first time.

   

1972 was a terrible year.

The first great problem came.At the end of the previous year, the Kamen Rider cards were released.The year that was the opening of the cheap candy store war for children, Mr. H was regretfully just 5 years old.  The world was ruled by the rule of the jungle.Elder children bought the cards steadily.Mr. H, a young child, bought bit by bit.

 

A great problem happened again.

Popinica. 

In 1974, the first Superalloy “Mazinger Z” was released.

 

Kamen Rider cards, Superalloys, Popinica. The situation was beyond a little 5-year-old child’s capacity.

 

Here, his grandmother showed power. She was indulgent toward her grandson and bought an expensive superalloy if he begged her.

Mr. H triumphantly displayed a toy, which she bought him, on a shelf.

“My father found it and was angry, asking why I had such a thing. Then my grandmother started to hesitate in buying.”

 

The same situation occurred with Kamen Rider cards. Mr. H begged his grandmother and at last bought a long-cherished Kamen Rider V3 card box but was discovered by his father as usual.

“When I had the cards in a bundle, my father found it and was angry.”  

He threw grandma into the fight and was scolded by his father. Although a child, he had a mountainous pile of problems. Mr. H’s problematic life started here.

 

Mr.H/ Collector(3)

Mr. H, who already had great problems in preschool, grew up to be an elementary school child who dropped by three toy stores on his way home.

 

When he found something big, he threw his grandma into the picture.

His grandma was generous with this grandchild as ever, but she became fed up with the repeated releases of superalloys. “She finally got angry when ROBOKON was released,” recalls this bad grandson.

 

In 1980, when Mr. H was a second grader in junior high school, a Gundam-boom swept across Japan.

As was usual, Mr. H also fell prey to this boom.

He bought “How to build Gundam” (Hobby Japan) and exerted himself in making Gun-pla every day.

With this as a trigger, he subscribed to “Monthly Hobby Japan” and was attracted by the charm of old plastic models.

A pla-model shop keeper who was Mr. H’s acquaintance taught him that old pla-models were on sale at Billiken firm in Aoyama.

Mr. H began going to Aoyama. It was when he was a third grader in high school.

 

 

Mr.H/ Collector (4)

In those days, the late 1980s, the mecca of toy shops was Shimokitazawa. “Nezumi-Kozo” in Takadanobaba moved to Shimokitazawa and changed its name to “Heroes”.“Scharaka-Shokai (Om-Rice)”, “Omocha-Tengoku Nichome-Sanbanchi”, “Natsukashi-Ya” etc.   

 

After having gone to Billiken-Shokai in Aoyama, Mr. H went to Shimokitazawa and hunted for old plastic models. The first purchase in his memory was V3 for 2000 yen at “Nichohme Sanbanchi”.

 

Some plastic-models which Mr. H had been familiar with from childhood were Bullmark and Imai. But a certain serialization in “Monthly Hobby Japan” gave  had him a big shock.“Antique Kits Selection” was the popular series by Masahiro Oda in “Monthly Hobby Japan” from1983 to 85.

The January 1984 issue,”Antique Kits Selection” 13th had a special feature on an electric monster by Marusan/Maruzan.

Under the full supervision of Mr. Yuji Nishimura, a famous collector in Fukushima, many vivid electric monsters appeared on the color pages one after another.

The unknown world called Marusan spread out here.

 “What is this? Shock waves passed through me. I had not looked at such a thing. Is there a thing like this?” said Mr.H.

Mr.H was possessed by the great problem called “Marusan electric monster”.But an electric monster was too expensive for a boy to buy even in those days.

“Go search yourself, and they will come out”. It was Billiken Shokai that advised him so, Mr.H recollected.Following this advice, he began to go around local toy stores thoroughly.

 

Mr.H/Collector(5)

He collected information by an old phone-book and searched around shops. A local toy store, a stationary shop, a wholesale dealer. When he entered technical school and got a motorcycle license, his field of activities spread out remarkably.

Even if he found a notable shop, it took him 1-2 months to enter the shop and be shown the storage. Mr. H brought liquor or a box of cake or cosmetics for the shopkeeper’s wife.

 

“It is naive to think that you can enter inside from the beginning,” said Mr.H.

This present strategy that he thought was a bit cunning himself was actually disliked by some shopkeepers, he said. But others were pleased.

In the late 80s, people had not yet realized fully the value of an old toy.But some hunters had already started their activities, and their name cards were left there before Mr. H went.Once he could enter, he paid frequent visits to the shop. In the warehouse, old things which had been driven to a nook were packed together with daily articles and jumbles.Mr.H looked carefully in order not to damage them. Besides, he helped shopkeepers with the cleaning of their warehouses.

 “I must be careful not to be hated by a shopkeeper. If he hates me, the next person cannot enter. If a former person does an unpleasant thing, nobody can enter anymore.”  

 The electric monster which he was looking for did not readily come out. But sometimes he found a brilliant thing and had the shopkeeper sell it to him cheaply. This was owing to the relationships between Mr.H and the shopkeeper that he had built carefully, rather than the lack of knowledge of the shopkeeper,I suppose.Mr. H was a sensitive person to the feelings of others by nature.

He sold those things in Shimokitazawa and made capital and continued looking for plastic models again.

 

Mr.H/Collector(6)

“There is a young man who brings a lot of real finds.”

Saying so, familiar shopkeepers began to introduce Mr.H to other collectors, which spread his routes to get things.

 

He brought a tin toy to “Heroes”, a toy shop in Shimokitazawa, and got an electric monster “Pegira” of Marusan in exchange for it.

It was around the early 90s.

Pegira was 180,000 yen then.

An electric Buusuka was 60000 yen at “Natsukashi-Ya.”

 

Mr. H traveled with his friends and drove along the seashore.

While looking outside, he moved his eyes restlessly, searching for a shop.

If he found a toy store, he entered there and kept on watching the things for hours.

He was not satisfied until he had seen everything once he entered.

 

Mr. H says, “I wouldn’t go to watch a woman in a bathing suit.”

His friends went to hit on women. Mr. H alone hunted for plastic models absorbedly.

His friends said that he was crazy, and they would leave Mr.H.

All his friends left Mr.H, saying to him, “You are not healthy. We couldn’t enjoy going on trips with you.”

Mr. H was in the flower of his youth, but he did not care for a woman in a bathing suit nor colored leaves nor a hot spring. He kept scavenging for things even without returning to the hotel.               

 

Mr.H/Collecor(7)

In the early 90s, Mr.H got acquainted with a plastic model shopkeeper in Wonder-Festival. Mr.H’s problematic life accelerated at this time.   

When he visited the plamo-shop in Higashi-jujo, he found that many old magazines formed a line at the storefront in a row.

Dating back to the 60s, the covers of prewar and postwar magazines, the cover of Gekko-Kamen etc.

Mr.H looked at them and was excited.

“What are these magazines? I have not seen anything like this. Is there such a world?”

 After a long absence, a grand shock came.

 In fact, he was about to lose his passion for plastic models.

Mr. H looked at an old magazine with keen interest and started hunting for “Shonen” “Bokura” and an older one, “Shonen Club”

He developed from there and crept into the world of Kashihon (books for lending)…. “Kitaro-Yawa” “Yohki-Den”

In the early 90’s, it was the time when Mandarake began to publish the first catalogues. He went around shops selling old magazines attentively.

 

Mr.H/Collector(8)

Mr. H said:

“In general, people buy a thing that they had bought in their childhood or which they couldn’t buy then. But I buy things which I hadn’t bought in my childhood.”

Many collectors start from the starvation that was not satisfied in their childhood.

They get stuck in collecting because their treasures were discarded by their parents or they were not able to buy it in those days.

 

Mazinger Z and Kamen Rider goods should have been enough to fulfill Mr. H’s wants.

Kamen-Rider and superalloys were his dream toys in his childhood.

But it was not them that shocked him from the bottom of his heart.

 

He sees others’ collection and thinks:

“What is this? I wonder how this person manages to gather things like this.”

 “What on earth is this? I can’t understand it, but it looks nice. Then, I become crazy. I can’t stop myself.”

 

He did not follow nostalgia but longed for an unknown thing. When he was caught up in the surprise of discovery, he couldn’t control himself anymore.

 

“I make friends at an event and go their home and see their various collections. This person collected so many things, it’s great to collect extremely, I think. I begin to want it when I see that a person has a rare thing.  I begin to want it when I see other’s collections.”

 

The storekeeper of Higashijujo had wide interests in things and was also a collector of American comics.

He displayed many comics of Batman, Superman, and even the picture books of Disney. Mr. H learned English conversation and flew to San Francisco.

While he looked for American comics, he picked up a Batman figure in a toy store over there, and brought the captain cyborg series of “Idial”, and so, he got deeper and deeper in this craze.

 

Mr.H/Collector(9)

“You are strange. You collect this and that. Besides, you buy only expensive things.”

Someone said so to Mr. H.

Mr. H wants the best thing in a genre, if he is going to collect at all.

Therefore he always aimed for the best one .

  

“But while collecting, I find that a really great thing would not readily come out. Besides it’s very expensive.”

 

When collectors reach a certain point, they enter the period of waiting still.

It was hard for Mr. H, active by nature.

While waiting, he gradually got tired.

But at that time, the next shock wave approached.  He left some best ones and parted with his previous articles for the next ones.

 

The shock wave comes suddenly.

“I want, I want” begins suddenly, and before he knows, he would have about 80 skeleton key holder charms from cheap candy stores.

When Mr. H sees other people’s collections, he always longed for the unknown world.

 

Mr.H got shocked with monsters. He is from the generation of the second monster boom, but the first boom felt more novel to him. Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultra-Seven (1966 – 1968). …When he looked at its’ illustrated books, he felt shivery.

 

He got a shock with an old notebook, too.

He saw “the can-character-collection” in magazine “Figure Oh” (NO.6), and he got another intense shock too.

As for the reproduction of the superalloy “Superalloy Soul”, he made a reservation and bought it for a while, but he gradually got bored. At times, he was collecting Spider-Man, Batman, Cola bottles and so on temporarily.

 

Mr.H/Collector(10)

Mr.H made his debut in the season of the Bubble at the end of the 80s. While he was looking for plamodels earnestly without taking notice of women in bathing suits, the Japanese economy entered a recession. Just at that time, he obtained the first electric monster, Pegira.

The period from Mr. H’s debut to Pegira coincides with the time when the Japanese economy greatly swelled and burst.

In the meanwhile, Mr.H ran from shop to shop fiercely and established his method of obtaining things.

  

In 1994, TV “Nandemo-Kantei-Dan” started.Articles which had seemed to be just a toy were priced at an unexpected high price, and people’s interest in old toys increased.

In 1996, the reproduction of Micro-Man was released. In 1997, “Superalloy Soul” was released. Many people went around shops and searched for a lucky find, and even local toy shopkeepers opened their eyes.

In various magazines, the asset value of toys were featured flourishingly.In August 1996,” The Appraisal Catalog of Monster/Hero Toy”was published.(Uchusen extra issue,Asahi Sonorama)(In 1998,a revised and enlarged sdition was published)

In 1998, “Ultimate plastic model perfection” was published (Mari Chimatsuri) (Byakuya-Shobo).

The business world of sub-culture, said to be recession-free, had become the place for speculation.

 

Mr. H kept moving.

Mr. H’s movement was not synchronized with that of society. Though I try to trace his steps chronologically, his desire for a thing causes a chain reaction and spreads and branches off innumerably.

Problems occur like big and small eruptions at the same time in different places every moment, and the situation comes into confusion.

Mr. H undertook even the problem of others.

If he heard a person in the east wanted an International Exposition goods, he bought it. If he heard a person in the west wanted a card, he bought it.

I do not know anymore what his target is and what isn’t.

 Mr. A, his acquaintance, testifies:

“Mr. H is my evolution form. I buy only things I need, but Mr.H buys even the things he does not need.”

However, truly, what is a thing you need? And what is a thing not needed?

He understands the value of articles too much. There is too much he could not throw away nor could overlook the value of.   

What is important is that all exist for an article.

What should he do to obtain the thing which he wants with a thin purse? In his perseverance and flair and energy to solve a great problem, Mr. H was exceptional.

He learned the genre at a terrible speed and went to meet a collector. He bought things with his knowledge and effort and sold them to cover the purchase of a new target.

Therefore, the range that Mr. H understands extends to a surprising field.

In that way, he piles up his collection and destroys it and piles it up and destroys it again, and he advances towards a new mountain while rolling.

 

Mr.H/Collector(11)

In 2004, the 65th issue of “Figure Oh” featured the small toys sold with candy.

Mr.H purchased this and perused it.

 

The world of a toy candies and complimentary toys had already been a great problem for him.

 

Mr. H has many books on it.

 

Bessatsu Taiyo “Kodomo no Showa-shi (The History of Children in the Showa period)”

Masao Ohta “Koukoku Character Ningyo Kan (The Hall of Advertisement Character Dolls)” (1995 Tsukama library)

“The Okashi” (1996 Fuso-sha)

“The Juice Dai-Zukan” (1997 Fuso-sha)

Kiyoshi Iriyama “Okashina-Dagashiya-San (Funny Cheap Candy Shop)” (1998 Kyoto Shoin Arts Collection)

“20th Century Garakuta-Zukan (The Picture Book of Junk in the 20th century)”

(1998 Parco Shuppan)

“Gurico no Omake-kataroku(Prize Catalogue of Grico)”(2003 Yaesu shuppan)

 

While turning the pages, he pointed to a frog, an elephant and a rabbit character of drugstores and said, “I have this, I have this too, and this too.”

He bought “Denkyu-kun” of “National” for 200,000 yen.

He bought “King gasera” for 250,000 yen at Quant.

Cisco was another great problem. They have Kitaro and Ultraman.

Kitaro-Box which they can be exchanged for 300 points, two first half-year models and second half-year models.

And the doll of “Conte 55”.

When he gets into it once, he goes and buys dozens of kinds of them.

“When I completed five Densukes, I was pleased.”

Mr. H looks back on those days.

 

Mr.H/Collector(12)

Mr. O has often experienced misfortune.

A daily, trivial trouble is not a misfortune. It is not misfortune even to fall for an expensive imitation.

But his treasure was submerged twice.The river beside his house overflowed, and the first time, original pictures were damaged. The file of storyboards of Ram and Shinobu (URUSEI-YATSURA) got covered by the water completely.

The second time, cels were damaged. 

The Cel of Fujiko(Lupin Ⅲ), which he had bought in Mandarale for 200,000 yen became drenched.

 

He suffered from a fire, too.

” In the past,I was absorbed in old electrical appliances.A fire started from the TV-radio.”

At that time, around one-third of his treasure burned.

A hand puppet of ” Yokai-Ningen-Bem” which Mr. H had bought for 50,000 yen after much pleading melted.

Both Mazinger Z and a machine gun for display which he had got in exchange was burnt.

 

Mr. H has, unfortunately, had his treasures stolen too.

A friend who had called himself Mr. H’s pupil stole his treasure and sold it.

Another person took them by knocking down the wall of Mr. H’s warehouse.

 

He experienced breakups too.

In fact, Mr. H is rather popular with women.

But this is not a misfortune, I think.

Which is more important,me or a toy?”

She piched a terrible fast ball at him,and Mr.H answered”TOY” immediately.

Both were to blame.

 

Mr.H/Collector(13)

“I want this one, I want that one, I had been saying to many persons. But what should I do if the article comes out when I have no money? Would I buy it by borrowing money through cashing? Although my brakes are broken year-round…Do I really want it? “

 

Mr. H says as if asking himself.

 

“My trip is a true trip now. I soak in hot springs and taste the food.

I don’t have many great shocks now.”

” Both monsters and Yokai are expensive. They have rose in price. Can I keep doing this in the future?  It leads to ruin. But you can’t abandon it. You will buy something.”

 

When he looked at someone’s collection, he came to want it.

When he saw someone doing it, he came to want it.

 

“I go crazy. I do not understand myself.”

His desire spread like wildfire and burned himself out.

 

Mr. H says that he is cutting several hundred branches of prolonged interest right now.

I asked him what genres would stay with him.

Mr. H says, “As for candy toys and notebooks, I don’t get tired”.

Though he has been collecting them for more than 20 years, things which he has not yet seen come out again and again.

 

Several years ago. he called Mandarake and disposed of a lot of paper articles like original pictures.

But although he once emptied one whole room, the room is now filled with things again. Mr. H said so with some despair.

 

Mr.H/Collector(14)

The article that Mr. H brought was one called Gomira, which was a mascot of “Tokyo Slim”, the Tokyo water department’s campaign.

“I don’t know why, but I feel good when I look at this,”

 Mr. H says in a tone that I cannot describe in words other than heartily.

I took a lot of photos of Gomira from many angles.

Gomira looks like a gnome who has a strong curiosity. This is the face which will rush absorbedly to its target thing.

DSC_0319

Mr.H/Collector(15)

When I hear Mr. H’s story, I notice that the space containing the things, rather than the things themselves, are in the center of his image.He is excited when he sees the space where things are collected together by a certain theme. A life closely surrounded by things. Mr. H envies that and wants to have such a life.Every room that displays a large quantity of things becomes an independent world. They are always brilliant.

 

The magazine “POPEYE” had a great influence on Japanese city boys by introducing the lifestyle of the American West Coast.

It is said that “POPEYE” spread “the catalogue culture” of displaying things as if they were arranged on a catalogue.Its editors had a newfound certainty that arranging things would become news, and things would become a trend. 

Mr. H, who is far from a city boy, sometimes read “POPEYE”. From around 1997, an interior special feature was made regularly, and various people’s rooms appeared.Some rooms were filled with hobby articles. Mr. H has been traveling all the time from such a room to another room.

          

“I met various people through articles. I met a great person whom I cannot normally know. In this world of things, both great people and other people are in the same place.”

 

Mr. H saw someone’s space and fell into a certain genre. And when he faced true difficulty in finding it, he encountered the next shock wave.

A desire rolled in and out and approached again.

“The pulse beats.” Mr. H compares it to a pulse.

He has been living with this pulse beating fast.

 

The Heisei period that began with the burst of the bubble is about to finish. The economic slump and the uneasiness of tomorrow has changed people’s concerns towards things substantially, I think.

We can no longer talk about neither toys nor original pictures without words of its property value.

Though Mr. H has been in an active relationship in buying and selling, his way of life has always been slightly solitary.

He does not let society’s movement influence him, which is evidently what an enthusiast is like.I breathe in a fragrance called admiration through Mr. H deeply.

 

It is bright to have a thing. It is endless to pursue a thing.A person surrounded by things is one who owns a world. A life with pulses of joy is a life worth living.