Mark Nagata is one of he foremost collectors of vintage Japanese sofubi toys. There was once a heyday perhaps in the late 80s and early 90s when the figures and toys were plentiful, lower in price, and part of the flea market world pre-Ebay. Although collectors were already deep into it, it was still the "wild west." Mark went through that period all the way to the present day where he wins auctions for kaiju treasures in Japan.
This exhibition at JANM captures Mark's story from childhood, to his time as an illustrator, and to making his own toys. The best part about this exhibition and story is that parts of Mark's story isn't 100% unique, it's a similar upbringing of a generation of Japanese American kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s with knowledge of Japan and Japanese popular culture while living on the West Coast. I was one of them. The difference is that Mark kept running with this obsession. This exhibition captures it all. Check it out. (JANM)