Have you heard about a series of toys called “Squeeze”?
These toys are very popular among girls in Japan in particular, and some grown-ups are fans, too.
This series features toys in a wide range of shapes and colors—some are food products like bread, cake, or vegetables, and others are characters. Some of them have fragrances, too. But all of these toys share the same texture. They are soft and squash under your fingers when you press them, and they will get scrunched up if you grab them tightly in your hand. However much you squish them, they will slowly return to their original shape if you let go.
Squeeze Toys Have Seen Many Improvements, Such as in Softness, Fragrances, Colors, and Packaging
Squeeze toys were originally produced outside of Japan, and were generally made to look like animals using hard polyurethane material. At the start of the 2000s, food-shaped Squeeze toys were produced in Japan, featuring a soft texture, fragrances, and beautiful colors. These toys were a big success as crane game prizes and decorative straps, and so they came to be sold as toys and novelty goods in stores.
When these toys started to go on sale as individual products, they were made to have an even more slow-rising, soft texture, with shapes that look delicious as well as a wide range of fragrances and realistic colors. The packaging also featured more intricate designs. The toys gained many fans as relaxing products that are good at relieving stress.
With crane games, you control a crane inside a glass case and try to get prizes. Squeeze toys became popular through these crane games, and went on to be sold as products
A Curious Fuwa-Fuwa and Puni-Puni Texture
Squeeze toys are sold at toy stores, variety stores, Squeeze specialty stores, and via Internet shopping. The packaging and websites for Squeeze toys use many mimetic words (onomatopoeia) to describe their curious texture. For example, the mimetic word “Fuwa-Fuwa” is used to indicate the feeling when you touch the toys gently. The mimetic word “Puni-Puni” is used to describe the feeling when the toys squash under your fingers as you press them a little, and the word “Mugyu” refers to the feeling when they get scrunched up as you grab them tightly in your hand.
They are Fuwa-Fuwa when you touch them gently
They have a Puni-Puni feel, squashing softly as you press them a little
They get scrunched up—Mugyu—as you press them strongly
Squeeze toys have a curious texture (Photos provided by BLOOM Co., Ltd. / MOOOSH Harajuku Store)
Sponge Material Is Colored to Create Realistic Designs
Squeeze toys are actually made by shaping polyurethane foam to look like food products or other items, and then coloring this foam sponge.
The slow-rising sponge material in Squeeze toys is softer than kitchen sponges.
Kitchen sponges will get squashed when you press them in your hands, but they will return to their original shape immediately when you let go. Squeeze toys do not go back to their normal shape immediately; they go back slowly. This texture is what makes Squeeze toys appealing.
You can take Squeeze toys that look like real loaves of bread or real slices of shortcake, and press them with your fingers or squish them in your hand. They will squash down slowly, and then gradually return to their original shape.
Some Squeeze toys have fragrances making them feel just like the real thing, but you cannot eat them. This unexpected aspect of the toys is part of their appeal. They have a pleasant texture that helps you relax.
A soft cheesecake (Photos provided by BLOOM Co., Ltd. / MOOOSH Harajuku Store)
Loaves of bread baked to a wonderful brown color (Photos provided by BLOOM Co., Ltd. / MOOOSH Harajuku Store)
You Can Also Get Kits to Make Your Own Original Squeeze Toys
You can also make Squeeze toys by yourself. You cut slow-rising sponge material and then color it with special paints. It might be difficult to get the slow-rising sponge material and special paints by yourself, but there are kits on sale that let you make the toys.
Why not make a delicious-looking “Squeeze” cake yourself?
However tasty they may look, remember that you cannot eat these toys. Enjoy touching them and holding them in your hands!
Squeeze toy kits that let you make your own original Squeeze toys (Photos provided by KUTSUWA Co., Ltd.)