Despite growing up in the mid-1980s, Japanese Twitter user @take14aki didn’t have a Famicom (Nintendo’s 8-bit video game console that would be released internationally as the NES). He wasn’t into sports, either. Instead , @take14aki was the creative, artistic type, spending his free time drawing pictures and making stuffed animals out of felt.
When he got into the upper grades of elementary school, though, @take14aki became absorbed with a new hobby: coin craft.
Famously, the five-yen coin has a hole in the middle, and by running yarn, string, or cords through it, you can use the coins to create sculptures. As @take14aki became more interested in coin craft, he eventually started making regular trips to the bank to convert his allowance into five-yen coins. He didn’t use all of his money as building materials, though, and set aside enough to buy a coin craft kit from an arts and crafts supply store, with which he created this amazing suit of samurai armor.
@take14aki estimates that the armor and helmet required somewhere around 1,750 coins to put together, which works out to 8,750 yen in legal tender. And just in case you’re having trouble believing it’s really made out of coins, here’s a close-up of its construction.
While some coin craft enthusiasts polish the coins they use for a brighter shine, @take14aki went the opposite route, opting for a grittier, battle-worn look. He even went so far as to dip the coins used for the helmet in etching solution for extra weathering. Including the stand, he estimates the suit of armor is roughly 55 centimeters tall, and that a two-year-old kid could wear it…provided he could stand under its weight.
This all sounds like an extremely ambitious undertaking for a grade-schooler, but @take14aki also had some parental help. The coin craft samurai armor was a joint effort between him and his mom, taking somewhere between six and 12 months to complete, according to @take14aki’s fuzzy (and warm) childhood memories.
Alas, while it’s not a legitimate antique, the armor is now more than 30 years old, and while the metallic five-yen coins @take14aki used (none of which were minted after 1987) have stood the test of time, the same can’t be said for the cloth bits. The cords holding the coins together are beginning to fray and break apart, and so @take14aki is now in the process of dismantling it, with the above photos the last images of it in its glorious full form.
However, the good news is that coin craft kits can still be purchased in Japan. Online retailer Ponpare mall, for example, is selling a samurai armor kit here, which appears to be the same pattern that @take14aki used and includes everything you need, except the coins, for 23,257 yen.
Oh, and yes, the 50-yen coin also has a hole in the middle of it, but considering that it increases your materials cost by ten times, the five-yen coin is by far the most popular choice for coin crafters.
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