Collection Item Summary:
This metal "Earth Man" robot is a tin toy manufactured in Japan for export to Western markets. In the 1950s and 1960s, its maker, Nomura, specialized in producing robot-themed metal toys, including several version of an unlicensed "Robby" robot based on the popular robot character from the film "Forbidden Planet" (MGM, 1956). In post-WWII Japan, producing these metal toys began as a way to tap into an international market for "penny toys" or cheap playthings, but developed by the late 1950s into a industry manufacturing creatively-designed, complex toys with moving parts and lights that competed successfully with Western toymakers. This toy, with its separate battery pack, rolling legs and sparking gun, is an example of these more sophisticated tin toys. This Earth Man Astronaut, which can be viewed as either a human space traveler or a futuristic robot, blended the American fascination with outer space with the Japanese fad for robots.
The Gewirz family donated this toy to the Museum in 2006.