Countertrend to digital game worlds: Themed Monchhichis
The Japanese doll manufacturer Sekiguchi relies on creative playing through themed monchhichis. For over 40 years, the cuddly toys have been promoting creative play, without any app or Bluetooth. Children can play with the ape-like dolls in familiar situations, such as the professional world, everyday life or immerse themselves in the world of fairy tales. To give the little ones a “hands-on” experience, so-called walking acts (life-size Monchhichi performances) take place nationwide in department stores.
Use of digital media in children’s rooms
The business magazine “WirtschaftsWoche” states that forty percent of toys are digitalized. Digital toys are part of everyday life for today’s “digital natives” target group. This makes watching YouTube videos or playing children’s game apps on parents’ smartphones even more natural. In addition, children can immerse themselves in virtual worlds through so-called Smart Toys using 3D glasses. In this way, the children’s willingness to learn is encouraged and interactions are ensured.
Experts are more critical of smart toys: “To develop children’s imagination appropriately, they must first learn to play analogously. The influence of digital toys on children’s health is also unclear. A short study by the EU Commission’s Research Unit on Smart Toys (JRC) notes that there are still considerable shortcomings in the area of children’s data protection. For example, it is often not transparent how personal data is collected, evaluated, stored or even passed on,” says the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.
With its Monchhichis, Sekiguchi wants to trigger an intergenerational countertrend: “We want to encourage children to become creative themselves and to immerse themselves in imaginative role-plays with our cuddly companions. This is not possible with a smartphone app,” emphasizes Sabine Blattert-Hardwiger, press spokeswoman of Sekiguchi Europe.
Every year, the traditional Japanese company launches five to ten new models. Some can only be purchased for a certain period of time. The Monchhichi boutique allows children to choose from ten different sets and dress their cuddly friends according to their taste.
Awakening of childhood memories
In the 70’s children could put their thumb into their little companion and in the 80’s the pacifier in the mouth. Many parents still remember their first Monchhichi plush doll from their childhood. With a cute facial expression, plush skin and a pacifier Sekiguchi creates a recognition value which will also provide positive childhood memories for the offspring.
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Image: Blattert PR – Monchhichi