PA2010_227.jpg Toy, Figurine (mid 1960s). Collection of Puke Ariki (PA2010.227).

This “winky” Dakko-Chan doll is proof that romantic gestures come in many forms. Lloyd Gleeson gave the black inflatable doll with the winking holographic eyes and hooped ears to his sweetheart Jennifer Day in the mid 1960s. Lloyd remembers she was thrilled with the present and she clipped it to her bedroom vanity mirror. It stayed there on proud display for the rest of the decade. She was not the only one swept away by the quirky charm of the dolls, which exploded in popularity in Japan in 1960. This model is Auckland manufactured.

A Time magazine article published just months after the invention of the dolls marvelled that 300,000 had been sold in just two months and that: “… the odd little doll intended for toddlers now embraces Japanese teenagers’ arms and handbags, housewives’ broom handles, [and] children’s strollers."

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