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Graduating Musashino Art University, Toshio Sakai's first job was as a record cover sleeve designer at CBS/SONY (now Sony Music Entertainment). The next few years saw him take over the family business after his father passed away, followed by a spell running his own graphic design firm.
In 1980, Sakai began work at Creative House. The previous year, Sekiguchi Corporation had established a specialized division to create goods based on its hugely popular Monchhichi character. In response to growing demand, the division became a separate entity, Sekiguchi Creative House, and continued to develop.
Sensing that the emotional value of tangible items would increase in tandem with the explosion of the virtual world, Sakai became interested in creating unique products to bring a spark of joy to everyday life. With this in mind, in 1995 he took over the Creative House business rights and established the CUBE CO. LTD. The company designs and develops new characters, while marketing various toys, dolls, and other goods.
CUBE-WORKS collaborates closely with artists and designers, but rather than giving priority to profitability, Sakai focuses on the artists’ ideas and produces a wide range of products. Loved by both adults and children alike, one of their most popular collaborative products is the Otamatone, an electronic instrument by Maywa Denki.
CUBE-WORKS create artistic gadgets with a focus on Japanese ‘kawaii’ cuteness. Though the company produces ‘toys’, Sakai emphasizes that they’re not necessarily for children! In fact, the focus is on the adult market. Their miniature robots, ‘plush’ animals, and vinyl figurines, many of which were invented and produced in Japan, are steadily gaining popularity overseas.
As they can easily be tied-up with mobiles and new technologies, Sakai sees unlimited possibilities for the future development of the gadget market.