An interview with FRESHTHINGS producer Hiroyuki Suzuki and a key person of the culture.
FRESHTHINGS X PEANUTS
With the release of the FRESHTHINGS Snoopy Yo-Yo, how are you related to this project?
Hiroyuki Suzuki (HS) : I have liked Snoopy since I was child. Right now, I can’t remember if it was a capsule toy or something else that made me first encounter Snoopy, but my very first yo-yo had Snoopy on it. I needed some clarifications on this specific yo-yo, hence I contacted Mr. Yanagi, the biggest yo-yo collector in Japan.
Takashi Yanagi (TY) : Right, everyone has their own special memories when it comes to certain things. Sometimes it is very surprising when you discover that a particular memory or experience someone had is in line with yours. I remember when you first contacted me, there was one yo-yo that crossed my mind so I immediately sent you information on that yo-yo. Was that the one you used to have?
HS : Yeah, that quite possibly was the one. But since I was a child, my memories of that yo-yo is a little hazy. Back then I felt that it was bigger and the color was a little different, but this should be the one as Mr. Yanagi says it is the only yo-yo from that era. *laughs*
Mr. Yanagi, how did you started collecting yo-yos?
TY : I first picked up a yo-yo back in 1980 when I was an elementary school kid. This was during the Coca-Cola yo-yo Boom. Everyone had a Coca-Cola yo-yo back then, and I managed to win the Coca-Cola yo-yo contest six times in 1984. That is how I got really into yo-yos and started collecting them too.
HS : So why didn’t you just decide to play yo-yos since you were so good? Why start collecting them?
TY : Back then, yo-yos were not as advanced as yo-yos now, and collecting was the only way to continue to be involved with the culture and history of yo-yos. But in the beginning, it was just mostly me playing yo-yos, I only started collecting seriously when I was about 20 years old.
So back to Snoopy, tell us how special FRESHTHINGS Snoopy yo-yos are.
HS : I can say that this Snoopy collection is not just a novelty toy, but it truly is a yo-yo for everyone. Whether you are a hardcore yo-yo player, or yo-yo collector, or you have never played with a yo-yo before, you will enjoy throwing this yo-yo.
TY : When people look at the design, the inspiration and the feel of this yo-yo, all the nostalgia from people who used to play yo-yos back then will just think, “Wow.”
HS : To be honest, when I started planning for this collection, I wanted to design a yo-yo that was a very standard looking yo-yo so kids will get interested in them. Perhaps something that involved Joe Cool from the original Peanuts Comic Strip. But the more i thought about it, I felt that the idea was such a novelty idea. Anyone could do it. So I changed my mind, and thought about how this yo-yo could appeal to my generation, or those before me. This whole idea started from my feelings of nostalgia, and that was the ambition and goal for this. Looking at the information that Mr. Yanagi sent me, I found out that most Snoopy yo-yos have a very standard design. So the more I thought, the more I realised that I needed to add my own unique twist in this collection.
TY : The Snoopy yo-yo that I passed to Hiroyuki was Made in the USA by Hallmark. It was made between the 1970s to 1980s, and it is some type of festival yo-yo. This other one actually combines a yo-yo with a pocket game, whereas this third yo-yo plays well and features Joe Cool on the yo-yo. Just a little history about these Snoopy yo-yos, they were widely sold in the USA ever since Snoopy was born in 1958. *Mr. Yanagi shared more information about Snoopy from back in the day*
HS : Thanks for sharing with me the history of Snoopy, and of Snoopy yo-yos, Mr Yanagi! So remember I was also looking for a picture of Snoopy playing with a yo-yo?
TY : Yes, there was a picture of Snoopy playing with a yo-yo that i showed you, is it not what you wanted?
HS : I was looking for something more outstanding I guess. At that point in time, I had already looked into thousands of archived images that I can use. As we spoke about earlier, I was trying to find pictures of Snoopy playing with a yo-yo. I was also looking for one that showed Snoopy doing certain yo-yo tricks, but of course there wasn’t any. Then an idea appeared in my head, ‘Why don’t we do something that is related to yo-yo tricks, instead of the actual yo-yo trick?! Like actually walking the dog, and so on.’ So with that thought, it suddenly became so exciting to look for archives that matched the trick theme I had in mind.
TY : When you first told me your idea, I was so excited! It’s just so simple, yet so interesting! Currently, there are no yo-yos in existence that uses a picture to convey the meaning of a yo-yo trick, so this is truly the first of it’s kind I think.
HS : Wow, that’s amazing information! *laughs* After I decided on the design of the yo-yo, I wanted to add something unique, something kinda deep. Like Snoopy fans would think, ‘This guy truly knows what’s cool!’
TY : That’s so important nowadays. It is cool that you didn’t want to make something simple that original fans would be disappointed with.
HS : There are many collectors like that in Japan who are disappointed with just normal-looking toys. I did not want that, so I asked Medicom Toy for an idea for this release. In my opinion, Medicom Toy is the best company that can express their characters well in Japan. So what happened was, I told the guy in charge that I wanted to make something Snoopy fans would like. His answer was, “How about express your design and ideas via a four-frame comic strip.” And I thought that idea was brilliant, so we used a square packaging to accommodate the comic strip frame. For just any normal toy, people may choose to throw away the packaging, but this idea makes the FRESHTHINGS Snoopy yo-yo packaging unique and different!
TY : That’s true! Also, the 3 colors (red/blue/yellow) on the white yo-yo body are eye-catching and so appealing!
Born in 1971 in the Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.One of the biggest yo-yo collectors in the world.Over 15,000 yo-yos in his collection.In 1997, he taught many kids during the Hyper yo-yo era and got interviewed on Japanese television and radio.He was one of the directors when 7-Eleven did Coca-Cola yo-yo promotions in 2005.
English edit : Hans Wong