Ken’s Toy


Arguably, the most coveted Godzilla toys for fans growing up in the Showa era are the two Bullmark figures that Ken Yano, played by Hiroyuki Kawase in Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971). In his backyard garden, Bullmark figures (King Ghidorah, Baragon, Ultraman, Kanegon and more) released at that time were hanging in display waiting for play. These toys were some of the earliest soft vinyl Godzilla figures every made in Japan. Back then it was great product placement for toys but today they are collector’s gold. Take a look a movie clip below.

Ken plays with The Bullmark Giant Size Godzilla and 8-inch Godzilla soft vinyl figures, taking them for a ride on his slide. Collectors cringe as they hit the ground but at that time they were merely children’s toys. Several years ago, I wanted to added more vintage figures to my collection from my life growing up with Godzilla in the 70s. In the summer of 2020, I found the Giant Size Godzilla on Showcase Daikaiju. Now, two summers later, I have scored the second of Ken’s figures. I just couldn’t resist.

This is an original blue/green Bullmark Godzilla 8” figure (ブルマァク ゴジラ) with red eyes and an 8-segment tail released in 1970. In 1969, Bullmark took over Marusan Shoten (マルサン商店) and reissued the first soft vinyl Godzilla figure it produced back in 1966. Marusan’s Godzilla was based on their Plamodel Godzilla model kit that was inspired by the the KinGoji stylized design of the Aurora Model Kit released in the United States in 1964. Early releases of this Marusan figure had a unique tail that went almost straight up. It is referred to as the “Steep” or the “J tail.”1 The 1970 Bullmark reissues came in blues to greens and a Hawaii beige/blue variant.2 They can also be identified by 6 to 8 segments in the tail molding that came about as the result of extra mold or short baking time for mass production.

This figure has been iconic over the years and it continues to be reissued by other companies such as M1-Go and Medicom Toy. Recently, Super7 created a Marusan Godzilla ReAction Figure with the J-Tail and vintage retro packaging celebrating the original.

I’m elated to have the original Bullmark figure in my collection like Ken. It will also sit beside my Giant Size Bullmark Godzilla. But unlike Ken Yano, I won’t be playing with my toys in the dirt anytime soon. In the future, I will look for the other variants to add my shelves.

1 Marusan Godzillaa
2 Club Tokyo: Bullmark Godzilla