Child’s Superman Mask from Japan

Japanese-Superman-Mask-feature

This is the kind of find that makes spending hours obsessively combing eBay worthwhile. It’s a child-size mask of Superman from Japan. I have absolutely no idea when it was made or who might have made it, only that it’s amazing and delightfully off-model.

Japanese-Superman-Mask

There are so many weird things about this that it’s hard to know where to begin!

He’s wearing light blue cats-eye sunglasses.

There’s a huge S emblem embossed in the forehead. One of the difficult things about Superman merchandising (and one that probably was the reason it took forty some years to get a Superman Pez) is that from the neck up, he’s a just a guy with a strong jaw and black hair with a spit-curl. There’s no immediate visual marker, like with Batman, that he’s even Superman. The Japanese designer of this product circumvents that problem by putting the S-shield on his forehead. It’s hard to see in the picture, but there’s also gold glitter in the background of it.

He has pink hair and bright red lips. Just like Dame Edna!

Lastly, in his hair is written “Superman” in Japanese script.

I don’t know who the manufacturer is or when it was made, but I’d guess 1960s or 1970s. It’s very hard to tell, though.

According to the seller, this item came from the estate of Ray Rohr, who was a Washington-based dealer and collector of tin toys and robots, with a particular interest in Japanese toys. Though Rohr passed away five years ago, his web site is still available for browsing on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

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