The Art of Sofubi: How to Order Authentic Sofubi Toys from Japan with a Forwarding Address

Updated: 19/05/2023

If you're a collector of sofubi toys, the unique and vibrant world of Japanese sofubi is sure to captivate your imagination. From intricately detailed kaiju monsters to adorable character designs, Japan is a treasure trove of sofubi figures that collectors worldwide seek to add to their prized collections. 

However, navigating the process of ordering sofubi toys from Japan can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you're located outside of Japan. That's where parcel forwarding services come into play, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for sofubi enthusiasts around the globe.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of ordering authentic sofubi with a Japanese forwarding address from forward2me, letting you expand your collection and embrace the artistry of Japanese sofubi like never before.

What Is Sofubi? 

Sofubi, short for "soft vinyl," refers to a type of collectible toy made from a soft and pliable vinyl material. Originating in Japan, sofubi figures have gained immense popularity among collectors worldwide. What sets sofubi apart is their unique aesthetic and craftsmanship. These figures often feature bold and colorful designs, intricate details, and a distinct nostalgic charm reminiscent of classic Japanese monster movies and pop culture icons.

Sofubi figures are typically produced using a process called rotational molding, where liquid vinyl is poured into a mold and rotated to evenly coat its interior. This technique allows for the creation of complex and detailed shapes that may be difficult to achieve with other materials.

One of the key reasons sofubi figures have captured the hearts of collectors is their limited availability. Many sofubi releases are produced in small batches, making them highly sought after and exclusive. This limited nature adds an element of rarity and desirability to these collectibles, fueling the passion of collectors who enjoy the thrill of hunting for elusive pieces to add to their collections.

Another aspect that appeals to collectors is the vibrant and diverse sofubi community. Artists and designers from around the world contribute to the sofubi scene, creating unique and innovative designs that push the boundaries of the medium. This collaboration between artists, manufacturers, and collectors cultivates a sense of camaraderie and excitement within the sofubi community.

What Are the Most Popular Sofubi Toys?

Types of sofubi toys

There are thousands of styles of sofubi but the one main distinction can be made: that between sofubi modeled after famous pop-culture characters like Godzila, Ultraman, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even the Michelin man from Ghostbusters, and designer sofubi, unique, often whimsical figures brought to life by the imagination and ingenuity of skilled sofubi makers. 

Here are a few examples of popular sofubi toys:

  • Godzilla: The King of the Monsters has been a beloved character for decades, and sofubi figures of Godzilla and other kaiju (Japanese giant monsters) are highly sought after by collectors.
  • Ultraman: Based on the popular Japanese superhero franchise, Ultraman sofubi toys have gained a significant following. These toys often depict different versions of Ultraman and other iconic characters from the series.
  • Kinnikuman: Also known as Muscle Man or M.U.S.C.L.E., Kinnikuman is a long-running manga and anime series that has inspired various sofubi figures. These toys feature exaggerated muscle-bound characters and are often collected by fans of the franchise.
  • Medicom Bearbrick: Bearbrick is a collectible toy line produced by Medicom Toy, featuring a bear-like figure with a simplified design. These toys come in various sizes and collaborations with popular brands, artists, and characters, making them highly sought after by collectors.
  • Kaiju and Yokai: Sofubi toys inspired by Japanese folklore creatures like yokai and kaiju have gained popularity over the years. These include figures like Tengu, Oni, and various mythical beasts, often created by independent toy artists.
  • Super Sentai and Kamen Rider: Sofubi figures based on the long-running Super Sentai and Kamen Rider franchises have a dedicated fan base. These toys often depict the iconic heroes and villains from the respective series.

Designer Sofubi 

Designer sofubi refers to sofubi (soft vinyl) toys that are created by independent artists, designers, or toy companies with a focus on unique designs, limited editions, and artistic expression. Unlike mass-produced toys from established franchises, designer sofubi toys are often produced in smaller quantities and are highly collectible.

Designer sofubi toys are known for their creativity, attention to detail, and the use of different colors, finishes, and textures. They often feature original characters, collaborations with artists or brands, and experimental designs that push the boundaries of traditional toy aesthetics.

Many designer sofubi toys are released through limited runs, making them highly sought after by collectors. They are typically sold through specialty toy stores, art galleries, online platforms, or directly from the artists themselves. Due to their limited availability and unique designs, designer sofubi toys often command higher prices compared to mass-produced toys.

Collecting designer sofubi toys has become a popular hobby among toy enthusiasts and art collectors. These toys offer a blend of art, design, and toy culture, allowing collectors to appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship behind each piece.

It's worth noting that the term "designer sofubi" is not limited to a specific style or aesthetic. It encompasses a wide range of artistic interpretations and can vary from cute and whimsical characters to more abstract or avant-garde designs. Each artist or designer brings their own unique vision and style to the creation of sofubi toys, making the designer sofubi scene diverse and ever-evolving.

Popular Sofubi Designers

There are several prominent Japanese sofubi designers who have gained popularity within the sofubi community. While popularity can vary over time and among different collector circles, here are some notable Japanese sofubi designers:

  • Kaiju Tan (Kaiju One): Known for his kaiju-inspired sofubi toys, Kaiju Tan has created a variety of highly detailed and monstrous creatures. His designs often pay homage to classic kaiju films and have gained a dedicated following.
  • Blobpus: Blobpus, created by Kondo-san, is known for his unique and quirky sofubi creatures. His designs often feature unusual shapes, textures, and vibrant colors, resulting in eye-catching and unconventional toys.
  • RealxHead: RealxHead, led by Mori Katsura, specializes in producing sofubi toys with a distinctive punk aesthetic. The figures often have exaggerated features, including large heads and spiky hair, and are highly sought after by collectors.
  • Yamomark: Yamomark, founded by Yamamoto Masashi, is recognized for its minimalist and abstract sofubi designs. The toys often feature simplified shapes and clean lines, allowing collectors to appreciate the elegance of the forms.
  • PicoPico: PicoPico, created by Shimizu Hiroyuki, produces sofubi toys with a strong focus on nostalgia. His designs often reference classic Japanese characters, video games, and pop culture, appealing to collectors with a fondness for retro aesthetics.
  • T9G: T9G, led by Shino Nakazawa, is known for its stylized and cute sofubi figures. The designs often feature round shapes, adorable expressions, and soft colors, creating a charming and approachable aesthetic.

These are just a few examples of popular Japanese sofubi designers, and there are many other talented artists and companies creating unique sofubi toys in Japan. The sofubi community is vast and constantly evolving, with new designers emerging and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression through this medium.

Where to Buy Authentic Sofubi Online in Japan

Designer sofubi toys

There are several notable Japanese online retailers that specialize in sofubi toys. These retailers offer a wide range of sofubi figures, including both mass-produced toys and limited-edition designer pieces. Here are some of the biggest Japanese online retailers for sofubi:

  • Mandarake: Mandarake is a well-known online retailer in Japan that specializes in a wide range of collectibles, including sofubi toys. They have a vast inventory of new and used toys from various brands and designers.
  • AmiAmi: AmiAmi is a popular online retailer that focuses on Japanese anime, manga, and related merchandise. They offer a diverse selection of sofubi toys, including figures from popular franchises and limited-edition releases.
  • HobbyLink Japan: HobbyLink Japan is an online hobby store that caters to collectors worldwide. They have a dedicated section for sofubi toys, offering a variety of figures from different designers and brands.
  • Jungle: Jungle is an online retailer that specializes in used and second-hand collectibles, including sofubi toys. They often have a rotating stock of rare and hard-to-find figures, making it a popular destination for collectors seeking unique pieces.
  • Tokyo Otaku Mode: Tokyo Otaku Mode is an online platform that caters to fans of Japanese pop culture. They offer a wide range of products, including sofubi toys from popular franchises and collaborations with artists.
  • Medicom Toy Online Shop: Medicom Toy is a well-known toy manufacturer that produces a variety of collectible toys, including sofubi figures. Their official online shop offers a range of Medicom Toy products, including exclusive releases and collaborations.
  • Amazon Japan: Amazon Japan is a popular online marketplace that offers a wide range of products, including sofubi toys from various brands and sellers. It's important to note that availability, pricing, and shipping options may vary among different sellers on Amazon Japan. Additionally, be mindful of any import regulations, customs duties, or taxes that may apply when ordering sofubi toys from Japan, depending on your country's regulations.

It's important to note that availability and stock may vary among these retailers, and it's always a good idea to check multiple sources for the specific sofubi toys you're interested in. Additionally, some sofubi releases may be available exclusively through the websites of individual artists or designers, so it's worth exploring their online presence as well.

How to Order Sofubi from Japan with forward2me

SFX sofubi toys

Whatever type of sofubi you're seeking for your collection, international delivery is no longer an obstacle. If you can't hunt down sofubi in Tokyo, simply choose some of our recommended stores and browse their collections. Listings are versatile and updated regularly so you can follow categories to nab that rare piece as soon as it's posted or even pre-order exclsuive items. Here's how the parcel forwarding process works: 

  1. Sign up and create an account: Register for a free Japanese account with forward2me. You will receive a Japanese address you need to use as a delivery address when purchasing sofubi toys from Japanese retailers.
  2. Shop for sofubi toys: Browse Japanese online retailers that sell sofubi toys and select the items you wish to purchase. Ensure that the retailer is willing to ship domestically within Japan.
  3. Enter the Japanese shipping address: During the checkout process on the retailer's website, enter the Japanese shipping address provided by forward2me as the delivery address.
  4. Pay for your purchase: Follow the retailer's payment instructions and complete the purchase. Be mindful of any additional fees, such as taxes, customs duties, or domestic shipping charges that may apply.
  5. Create your shipment: When your package arrives at our Tokyo location, we will notify you via email. Log in to your forward2me account and choose your preferred courier and payment method. Providing an invoice of your purchase will help us process your shipment more quickly. 
  6. Package consolidation and shipping: If you have multiple orders arriving at our warehouse, we will hold each package for free for 30 days so you can consolidate it with any other items you have ordered using our Combine & Repack option
  7. Receive the package: We will ship the package to your designated address. If you've opted for a tracking option, we will send you real-time updates. 
Please be aware of any import regulations, customs duties, and taxes that may apply in your country when receiving the sofubi toys.

How to Properly Store Your Sofubi 

Taking proper care of sofubi collections is crucial to ensure their longevity and preserve their aesthetic appeal. Here are some tips for collectors to maintain and care for their sofubi toys:

  • Handling: When handling sofubi toys, it's important to handle them with clean hands to avoid transferring dirt, oils, or moisture onto the figures. Avoid touching the painted or detailed areas excessively, as it can lead to wear or damage over time.
  • Display: Choose an appropriate display area for your sofubi collection. Keep them away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause colors to fade. Displaying them in a dust-free environment or using display cases can help protect the toys from dust and potential damage.
  • Cleaning: Regular cleaning is essential to keep sofubi toys in good condition. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a clean makeup brush to gently remove dust and debris from the surface of the figures. Avoid using harsh chemicals, solvents, or abrasive materials that could damage the paint or vinyl.
  • Temperature and humidity: Extreme temperatures and high humidity can have adverse effects on sofubi toys. Avoid exposing them to excessive heat or cold, as it can cause the vinyl to warp or deform. Ideally, store them in a climate-controlled environment with moderate temperature and humidity levels.
  • Avoid moisture: Moisture can lead to mold growth or damage the vinyl material. Ensure that your sofubi toys are stored in a dry area and avoid exposing them to excessive moisture or water. If any accidental spills occur, promptly wipe them off and allow the toys to dry thoroughly.
  • Avoid pressure or impact: Sofubi toys can be delicate, so avoid subjecting them to excessive pressure, squeezing, or dropping. This can cause deformation, breakage, or paint chipping. Handle them with care during storage or when moving them to prevent accidental damage.
  • Rotation: If you have a large sofubi collection, consider periodically rotating the displayed figures. This helps to prevent prolonged exposure to light and minimizes the risk of color fading on specific toys.
  • Original packaging: If you have the original packaging for your sofubi toys, consider keeping it. The packaging can provide additional protection during storage or transportation and may help retain the value of limited-edition or rare figures.

Discover the Vibrant World of Sofubi with Forward2me

Embracing the world of authentic Japanese sofubi toys has never been more accessible than with the convenience of parcel forwarding. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can now navigate the intricate world of sofubi, explore the works of renowned Japanese designers, and add exquisite pieces to your collection from the comfort of your home, no matter where you reside at the best parcel forwarding prices guaranteed

Unleash your passion for sofubi and revel in the joy of owning these unique and captivating pieces of art, knowing that they've traveled from the birthplace of sofubi in Japan to your very own hands. Happy collecting!

Share on: