Even with the most attention-grabbing toys, video games and apps available in the market today, the nostalgia of capsule toys still manages to live on. First introduced in Japan, capsule toy vending machines (as known as Gashapon in Japan) were strategically placed near every school corner in Asia. In fact, it was not only a public utility for consumption, but it also served as ubiquitous placemark that signifies presence of school children near by.

I first encountered a capsule toy vending machine when I was in a grade school in Seoul, Korea — in front of the “usual" place of course. For me and many of my friends at the time, these vending machines (as known as Capsule Bbopki in Korea) represented a part of the daily ritual on the way to school and home. Or perhaps a true testament of self control. After all, these machines look and work much like Pachinko, from sensorial conditioning (utilizing gratifying sounds and haptic feedbacks generated by the mechanical lever and plastic capsule) to the desire to keep playing in order to win the prize you want.

While both Gashapon and Pachinko sharing their ancestry with a children’s toy "Corinth game" is no coincidence, my hypothesis is that Gashapon have gradually encouraged kids to develop a knack for Pachinko later in life. Why do I believe this? Well, the very companies that produce Gashapon also happen to design and license Pachinko machines. Similar to how American brands made coffee popular in Japan by selling coffee-flavored candies to kids after the war.

The culture code for Pachinko is Gashapon.


Japan had a similar conditioning in the past that involved by selling coffee-flavored candy to kids to encourage coffee consumption later in their life.