In Japan, everything from canned fish to giant roly-polys can be found in miniature form and available as capsule toys (also known as gachapon or gacha). You can even buy a half-sized capsule toy dispenser machine for your home or office.
As we've seen before with these city dioramas or aquariums, for example, some of the miniatures made in Japan are so detailed you'd almost be forgiven for thinking someone had shrunk them just like a scene in "Ant-Man."
The payphone: a disappearing icon of the urban landscape
Along with advances in mobile telecommunications technology, public demand for public pay phones have naturally decreased in the last 20 years. In the U.S., as reported by the FCC via CNN Money, there were 2 million pay phones (0.7 per person) in 1999, but only 100,000 (0.03 per person) in 2018 (a fifth of them in New York). Meanwhile, in Japan, according to NTT as reported in Yahoo News, the number of public pay phones dropped from 735,000 public pay phones in 2000 (0.6 per person), to less than 158,000 (0.13 phones per person) in 2018.
It's quite clear that public pay phones, while remaining as a valuable lifeline in times of disaster, are slowly disappearing from view.
NTT Public Payphone Miniature Figure Series
Thankfully, the familiar icon of the Japanese urban landscape is going to be commemorated later this year through a series of remarkably detailed capsule toys offered in collaboration between NTT and toy maker Takara Tomy's capsule toy division T-Arts Co Ltd.
Each miniature is reproduced in painstaking detail. Let's take a look at the six pay phones representing a slice of Japanese history from 1971 to 2016:
MC-D8 Digital Public Payphone circa 2016
For example, the most recent model in the series, the MC-D8 features a moving receiver and cable, a hook which actually moves up and down, keypad buttons which can actually be pushed and a coin return slot which can actually be opened and closed.
MC-3P Analog Public Payphone circa 1986
Duet Phone circa 1996
DMC-7 Digital Public Payphone circa 1996
New Red Phone (Shin-gata Aka-denwaki) circa 1971
Gold Public Payphone circa 1993 (royal wedding edition)
- Name (JP): 『NTT東日本 公衆電話ガチャコレクション』
- Price: 300 yen (incl. tax) / 6 types
- On sale from: November 2019
- Size: Between 44 mm (1.7") and 53 mm (2.1")
- Availability: Wherever capsule toys are located in Japan
- Website on Takara Tomy
- Rights: NTT West Japan
- Collaboration: NTT Technology History Center
Source: PR Times
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