I am taking Toys class in this semester, and I learn about the background and issues of toys in America. I questioned how people who have Asian background thinks about toys. So, I interview two friends who are 5 years older than me. Seok Han grew up most of his life in Korea and came to MICA as a graduate student last year. Andrew Kim immigrated to US when he was young. Even though they are in same age and generation, they had different interest on toy.

by David Woo

Andrew Kim
Born in 1981


What was your favorite toy when you grow up?
Well I think that my favorite toy is different when I was in Korea and in US. in my generation, gundam plastic model was a trend; assembling, painting, and playing. Actually gundam was very popular in the generation of my older brother, and he influenced me when I grew up. Another trend was making a small racing car. Assembled with a motor, batteries, and wings and painted custom. I remember that I bought some parts like bearings and wings, which were price range of $1 to $10. There was a racing track in front of a toy store, so I used to race with my friend there.

Why did you play with toys?
My personal reason was that all of my friends play with same toy. It was a trend.

Did you play alone or with someone to enjoy?
At first, I played because my friends had them. I customized my car alone and bragged to them. But I raced my car with others. I played gundams alone. I held the two gundams in my hands and fought each other.

What is your definition of toy?
Self-enjoy or happiness at the mental age. I could not drink or date with a girl at that time. Playing with toys was what I can spend my time with.

Do you still have your old collection?
No. because I am from Korea, I did not bring all the toys I played to US.

Then, do you have a toy collection in US?
I used to have it, but my mother throw them away when they were moving.
It happened last month. She did not ask me at all.

I will suppose that you have the collection now. When you see your collection, what do you think?
It is just a collection. I don’t feel like to play with them. This is like that Americans collect DVDs that they watch it two or three times, but they still collect them.


What is your favorite toy now?
The toys that I can control, like RC. The RC is too expensive to buy. I also like action figures. They do not have to be cute. Just action. I also like the World of War craft models.

What is different between dolls and figures?
Dolls are cute and for girls and figures are cool and for boy.

How is a play in the World of War-Craft?
The computer game is a toy actually. I make my characters wear gears and clothes. I still keep my collection in Final Fantasy even though the game is about to disappear.

How is the definition of play different from now and old?
It was happiness. Now toy is to add in my collection. I don’t play physically anymore.

Seok Han
Born in 1981


어렸을때 제일 좋아했던 장난감은?
애가 말했듯이 RC를 좋아했었어. 그리고 인형을 좋아했었어. 바비같은거 말고 동물 인형들같이 푹신푹신하고 귀여운 인형들을 좋아했었어.
What was your favorite toy when you were young?
Like Andy said, I also liked RC. I liked stuffed dolls, not Barbie, when I was young.

그럼 그런 인형들을 좋아했던 이유는?
일단 귀여운걸 되게 좋아해. 귀여운걸 보면 기분도 좋아지고,
Why did you like that kind of toys?
I like cute dolls. I feel better when I see a cute thing.

앤디형같은 경우는 액션피겨나 플라스틱 건담같은걸 좋아하는데 형이 봤을때는 이런 종류의 취미를 가진사람이 어떤거 같아요?
그거는 아직 공감이 안가.
Andy likes action figures and plastic models like Gun dam. What do you think about a person with the hobby?
I do not understand yet.

형은 아까도 그렇고 옷이나 악세서리 같은 패션 이야기 많이 하고, 옷에 그려진 시계나 캐릭터들을 되게 좋아한다고 했잖아요. 그거랑 토이랑 어떻게 연관이 되는거 같애요?
장난감도 그거 자체만 봤을때 이쁘잖아. 그러니까 이쁜걸 보면 뭐든지 사람이 기분이 좋잖아. 악세사리도 귀엽고 하니까 그걸 봤을때 기분이 좋은거 같애.
You talked about fashions like clothes and accessories and you liked watches and characters drawn on the fashion items. Is there any relation between a fashion item and a toy?
Toys are cute as it is, so they make people happy when they see them. Accessories are cute so they work like toys.

그럼 그런 귀여운것을 몸에다가 착용을 했을때, 기분이 더 좋아지는가?
응 좋아하는게 옆에 있으면 좋지.
When you wear to cute things, do you feel better?
Yes, I feel happy when things like is near to me.

seok2 seok3seok4

장난감 같이 옷도 컬렉션이 있어요? 장난감 컬렉션은 보고 즐거운거 잖아요.
장난감 컬렉션처럼 보기만하는것과는 다르게 옷컬랙션은 입는거니까 피부로 직접 느끼는거니까 더 가깝게 느낄수 있는거 같애. 자기가 좋아하는거니까 자기 성격이나 생각을 옷으로 표현할수 있는거 같애.
아무생각 없이 그냥 옷을 입지 않았을거 라고 생각해. 누가 길을 가다가 이 옷에대해서 물어보면 자기가 좋아했기때문에 이옷을 입었다고 말할꺼 같애. 이 옷에 있는 그림(레전드 오브 젤다)는 내가 옛날에 아주 좋아했던 비디오게임의 주인공이고, 지금 내가 이 캐릭터를 보고 있으면 옛날 생각도 많이 나고 추억에 잠기기도 해.
Do you have a fashion collection? Toy collections make eyes fun.
Unlike toys, clothes are for wearing on the body, so it is close to skin and I can feel it.
I don’t think that people wear a t-shirts without knowing. If someone asks why you wear the t-shirts, I wear this because I like it. This picture in this t-shirt (the legend of Zelda) is my old favorite video game character. I remember my childhood playing the game while I see this picture.

형이 그냥 평소에 입는 옷들도 모으지만 특별하게 리미티드 에디션이라고 해서 다르게 출시되는 옷들이 있잖아요. 그런건 어떻게 생각해요?
좋아하는 사람이 한정된 수량만 만들어진 것을 어떻게든 손에 넣으려고 해. 그 물건이 빨리 팔리면 그물건에 대한 가치가 올라가고.
There are clothes that you wear normally and limited edition that released differently. What do you think?
Collectors try to buy them whatever it takes. The value goes high if they are sold.

가격이 그렇게 올라가면 실제 옷의 목적인 입는것보다 그냥 그것을 사기 위한 목적으로만 치우치게 되지 않을까요?
옷을 모으는 사람들은 자기가 소유하는것에 관심이있지, 그걸 사서 높은값에 팔려고 하지 않는거 같아. 그것을 살때와 소유할때 행복을 느끼는거지 물건들을 주식처럼 사로 팔지 않아.
If the value goes up, the actual purpose of cloth becomes a purpose to buy?
The collectors are interested in possessing. They won’t resell them in high price. They feel happiness and satisfaction when they purchase and possess, but they don’t sell them like stocks.

지금까지 말했던것중에 특별히 말하고 싶은건 없는지?
악세사리는 옷하고는 다르게 장난감 처럼 있는 그대로 보이는거니까 장난감하고 밀접한 관계 인거 같애.
Is there anything that you want to say more?
Accessory is presented as it is, so it is similar to a toy.