Joined: Apr 02, 2002
From: SF bay area, CA
|Posted: 2011-05-15 10:13 pm  Permalink|
Once again Freddie House of Ku has my number!
My wife really likes those, and I do too, so we have a few of them and kinda keep an eye out for them. As far as I know, those figures are only from Japan, and from the "made in Japan" era, which was after the "occupied Japan" era. So that would be more like late 50s and 60s, as opposed to WWII era. The United States, and Hawaii in particular, weren't quite on friendly terms with Japan during WWII, so there wasn't so much of a trade in tourist goodies going on with them.
So it was actually the same era that a lot of tiki mugs and stuff were being made in Japan. Like many of the mugs we all know, I think these figures were mass-produced, but hand painted. It's fun to see all the variations - some are explicitly for Hawaii, and some are more vaguely tropical. Some have almost a witco texture on parts of the wood, and some use seashells much more than wood. I think those ones above are the first ones I've seen with the little painted-on boobies. Here's a typical example of one we have...