Mr. Akiyoshi Iwami, Director of J toy master Hobby ONE

Sunday 10th, May 2015 / 13:41 Written by
Mr. Akiyoshi Iwami, Director of J toy master Hobby ONE

Interview vol.3

Iwami san

Are you looking for Japanese toys? Ask me!

Yoshi operates a Japanese toy shop in Atrium on Elliott in Auckland CBD. The shop is full of toys including anime goods, Gundam pla-models, TOMICA mini cars and TAMIYA Mini 4WD. He always welcomes customers smiling like an Ebisu (Ebisu is a Japanese god of fisherman and luck) with comprehensive knowledge of toys.

K-On! There are hundreds of Anime figures in the shop.

K-On! There are hundreds of Anime figures in the shop.

 

Before he came to NZ, he worked for his family business which is a commercial tenancy management in busy town Namba, Osaka. Alongside he also experienced managing a café and bar at 23-25 years old. His super friendly communication skills come from the background and the experience. However he felt the limitation that he couldn’t create his world in the family company and also in Osaka. At the time, he visited to New Zealand where his uncle lived, then he entered a toy shop next to the uncle’s Japanese restaurant. The shop sold Japanese anime goods but the shop staff didn’t have much knowledge of the anime and couldn’t really answer the customers’ questions. Yoshi thought he could run a toy shop better as he really likes toys and anime and especially had dreamed to open a toy shop.

 

Back in his childhood, there was his favourite toy shop close to his house. He visited there almost every-day holding money saved for toys. In the shop, an old lady always held rare Gundam pla-models for him that everyone wanted and seek at the time. Yoshi felt kind of superior and very happy being in the toy shop. This is the origin of his dream to open his own toy shop, just like her shop where it makes kids happy.

 

In 2007, he applied Long Term Business Visa with a plan to run a Japanese toy shop in NZ. Lots of problems aroused, such as finding location and agreements. After the bitter experiences, finally he managed to get the LTB Visa and opened a first toy shop in Browns Bay. It had been stable until the Albany Mega Shopping mall opened, that affected the numbers of customers. Meanwhile, he had to close the shop and went back to Osaka.

 

After a few years, Yoshi came back to NZ again and started selling ‘Baby Castella’ (Japanese Sponge cake) at night markets in Auckland. It was actually fun but also hard for his body. Only one regret was to close the toy shop. Looking success of a rival toy shop, Yoshi wanted to try to open his toy shop again to see what would happen if he opened a toy shop in Auckland city centre. Grabbing a chance, firstly he managed to open his second toy shop in Atrium on Elliott as a two months pop-up store for Christmas season. He got huge success there, which led him to open an official shop in the shopping mall in 2014.

Genuine Japanese Toys!

Genuine Japanese Toys!

Now as the Japanese Anime culture spread around NZ, he places more Anime stuffs such as Figure dolls, DVD and relevant toys. The shop has attended to Armageddon, the biggest sub culture event in NZ, which made the shop more famous among NZers. Now he opens the shop 7days a week to spread the Japanese toys and culture. His policy is that he provides genuine toys imported from wholesale stores in Osaka with affordable prices. Because there are many fake toys in NZ but of course those are made cheap. He wants people to feel happy playing and displaying toys.

Cos-players of 'Attack on Titan'

Cos-players of ‘Attack on Titan’

Last month, ‘Otaku-con event’ was held in Atrium on Elliott by him. Over 3,500 visitors enjoyed shopping, Cos-play competition, TAMIYA 4WD competition and so on. Against his anxious, it was fully covered by his customers and potential customers. He appreciates all of the people who involves with him. After the event, he told me one of his current dreams to create Small Akihabara in the floor around his shop. It would be ideal excited place for Otaku to come over and communicate together. Nobody can stop Yoshi!

Recently the TAMIYA 4WD cars regains popularity !

Recently the TAMIYA 4WD cars regains popularity !

 

His favourite character is Anavel Gato from Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory OVA. The reason why he likes him is that Anavel is coolest guy (including the voice performed by Akio Otsuka, famous voice actor) and the story really impressed him.

 

J toy master Hobby ONE

Address: shop800 Lv2 Atrium on Elliott, 21 Elliott Street Auckland CBD

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00AM – 6:00PM / Sunday 12:00PM – 6:00PM

Phone: 09 366 4628

URL: http://www.hobbyone.co.nz/

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