Japanese eraser (keshi gomu) toys

May 18, 2000
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This is a fun, though obscure, area of collecting. Maruka and Takara are the best known companies for keshi gomu figures from Japan, though there are some well known bootlegs from Cosmos and other makers.

Keshi figures were generally released either in gachapon machines or in blind bags that were sold at little candy stores.

I thought I'd start this thread with my favorite company for keshis: Takara. They weren't...how shall we say this diplomatically...the highest quality sculpts out there, and you'd be forgiven for mistaking them for bootlegs. But they have a lot of personality!

There are two main styles of Takara keshi: thin and dangly, and chunky. Here are some of the first type:





Examples of color variants:



Chunky monkeys:


(No, Chewbacca is not being polite. Craftsmanship and gravity are responsible for his osteoporosis.)








That's just a sampling of the Takara keshis out there. More people will be familiar with the Maruka toys, which have been catalogued rather extensively here: STAR WARS COLLECTION FILE

I'll add some Maruka and bootleg keshis here in a bit.
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Any other eraser heads out there?

Here are some Maruka keshi:





^Nice! Are they all based on Maruka keshi? I can see that for sure with the Falcon. The Vader looks like the Maruka figure or maybe the Cosmos bootleg, and the Y-Wing looks a bit like the large size Maruka lottery prize keshi.
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The Vader is the Meiji candy toy. The Y-wing is the Morinaga candy toy. Not keshis.
Ah, gotcha. That makes sense. In the Y-wing medallion, the fuselage is longer than both the large and small Maruka keshis.

Vader makes sense too. Some of the Cosmos bootleg keshis were quite possibly recasts of the Meiji choco premiums. The Chewbacca and Vader Cosmos figures are dead ringers of the Meiji figures.
Here are a couple of the blind bags the Maruka keshi were sold in.


I believe there were 3 or 4 erasers in a bag. If you were lucky, you received a winner card that allowed you to get an additional bag for free.

And here are some of the larger keshi (1.5-2" long) given away as prizes at candy stores. I know at least one type of item (Maruka magic stencils) that provided these as prizes. Basically, you'd buy a blind bagged stencil, and if you were lucky, you got a winner card that allowed you to get one of these from the shop.




Completely clear erasers like these (either bagged or open) have tended to yellow over time:



Also, if I'm not mistaken, there was another way to get these larger toys. I believe they were also sold individually, in boxes filled with a variety of figures. The display box would fold out, and you could choose the one you wanted.
There were also a bunch of bootleg keshi gomu toys.





This bag came stuffed with Falcons, X-wings, Star Destroyers, and round space stations:

Comparison shot. Cosmos bootleg on left next to licensed Meiji candy premium on right:
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First time, I hear about these, very interesting read and beautiful pictures. I like to read about stuff, I don't collect myself, and learn more about different niches of vintage star Wars collectibles, so thanks for sharing this information with us.

Those round space stations in the UFO bag, look a lot like "The Wheel" friom the Marvel Comics.
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I'm like you - I love learning about new things. :)

Interesting idea about Marvel comics!


In the 1970s, there was a huge boom in space toys, movies, and other sci-fi in Japan, with companies like Takara (of course you knew I would say that B) ) leading the way. I believe the film Message from Space was around that time as well.


Earlier in the 1960s, there was even interest in shows like Lost in Space, which may have influenced the great TV dramas (aka tokusatsu) like Ultraman and Captain Ultra.
^That's a fun one. The breakdown of that wave seems to correlate fairly closely to 12 back figures, so they might have put it together very early on. [/speculation]

Nice collection, Andy! Seeing them together like that gives a great sense of the different sculpting styles between and within companies.
Nice Maruka box, Andy!

Continuing on the Maruka theme and borrowing pics I posted in another thread last year, here's a look at three large-sized lottery prize keshi toys as they originally came:



They would have been removed from the white cardboard strip one by one by the shopkeeper and handed out to the lucky prize winners.
Love the camp Chewbacca and I cannot look at the gormless looking C3PO with a straight face. Almost burst out laughing in the office at that one. Great items!! Thanks for sharing
I think I can help with that.

1) Save the image of mini G(for Gormless)3PO to your computer.

2) Under Forum Actions (up toward the top of this page), click Edit Profile.

3) On the left-hand side of the following page, you'll see My Settings. Click Edit Avatar.

4) You'll see: Option 2 - Upload Image From Your Computer.

5) Click browse, locate the file of G3PO where you saved it on your computer, and voila.

I've already configured the image size so it will meet the proper parameters (I think). So you should be good to go. :)
I discovered another R2 keshi. No markings, and I'm not sure where it's from or who the maker is. But the level of detail is excellent.




Here's a side by side of 4 R2 keshis:


From left to right: Takara, Maruka, ???, Maruka large keshi with bag + header card.

Thanks for posting these pics. They are so much easier to see than most of the pictures online. I have a question on the yellow Stormtrooper (squatting). I can't tell by the angle, but does this represent a Sandtrooper or a Spacetrooper? I am starting up a new focus and wanted to know if I need to track one down.

Thanks again
Hi Mark, thanks man! My gut says it's a standard Stormtrooper - the reason being the Takara SW keshi came out fairly early on and are largely associated with the original 12 back 4" figures (most of which Takara also released). So it seems unlikely to me that they'd target as specific a figure as a Sandtrooper.
A few more Takara keshis:

Death Star Commander, Jawa, Stormtrooper:

Very rare Tusken + Bantha:

Dark Lord trio:
Here are some more large-sized (1-2") Maruka keshi:





And a couple of packaged bootleg sets, which combined characters from Star Wars and elsewhere:


Those are absolutely sweet. I have been looking to complete my Jawa set and so far have located Green, Yellow and Orange. There is also a Blue, Black, Red and White version out there as well. Anyone have any leads on one?
Those are absolutely sweet. I have been looking to complete my Jawa set and so far have located Green, Yellow and Orange. There is also a Blue, Black, Red and White version out there as well. Anyone have any leads on one?

Jawa is one of the nicest from what might be called "second wave" Takara sculpts. I'll keep a lookout.
A couple more early Takara keshis.

Luke, who either seems to have convinced himself that his blaster is a fencing sword, or is practicing a Mr. Miyagi consciousness raising exercise.


A face only a Wampa could love?

Obi Wan. Cool pose. Forked saber. (It's the way it was sculpted.)


Bumping up an older thread to showcase some recent additions to my ongoing and "almost done" Jawa Keshi run. Pictured are seven of the eight known color variations for the Keshi Jawa to include the insanely hard to find Large White and Translucent Blue versions. While some of the smaller ones are hard to find, the Larger ones are even harder. Enjoy...


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