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Idealization of Licca-chan and Barbie: Comparison of Two Dolls across the Pacific

Authors: Miho Tsukamoto

Abstract:

Since the initial creation of the Barbie doll in 1959, it became a symbol of US society. Likewise, the Licca-chan, a Japanese doll created in 1967, also became a Japanese symbolic doll of Japanese society. Prior to the introduction of Licca-chan, Barbie was already marketed in Japan but their sales were dismal. Licca-chan (an actual name: Kayama Licca) is a plastic doll with a variety of sizes ranging from 21.0 cm to 29.0 cm which many Japanese girls dream of having. For over 35 years, the manufacturer, Takara Co., Ltd. has sold over 48 million dolls and has produced doll houses, accessories, clothes, and Licca-chan video games for the Nintendo DS. Many First-generation Licca-chan consumers still are enamored with Licca-chan, and go to Licca-chan House, in an amusement park with their daughters. These people are called Licca-chan maniacs, as they enjoy touring the Licca-chan’s factory in Tohoku or purchase various Licca-chan accessories. After the successful launch of Licca-chan into the Japanese market, a mixed-like doll from the US and Japan, a doll, JeNny, was later sold in the same Japanese market by Takara Co., Ltd. in 1982. Comparison of these cultural iconic dolls, Barbie and Licca-chan, are analyzed in this paper. In fact, these dolls have concepts of girls’ dreams. By using concepts of mythology of Jean Baudrillard, these dolls can be represented idealized images of figures in the products for consumers, but at the same time, consumers can see products with different perspectives, which can cause controversy.

Keywords: Barbie, dolls, JeNny, idealization, Licca-chan

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1338196

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