This year, one of Japan’s most beloved heroes, Ultraman, turns a whopping 50 years old! Or rather, his TV show does – who knows the real age of the mythical superhero. To commemorate this anniversary, a brand-new and immensely popular site called Ultra-J launched in June on which Ultraman and the show’s main characters showcase the many charms of Japan and its forty-seven prefectures.
The site also operates an online shop that offers amazing and unique goods that represent an intriguing collaboration between Ultraman and Japan’s traditional arts and crafts. Among these goods are the previously mentioned Ultraman ukiyo-e prints, kutani porcelain, or Alien Baltan nail clippers. Not only great in design but also in terms of quality, these products tend to be out of stock rather quickly as Ultraman fans around the world seek to get their hands on them!
As Vivid as the Hero Himself: Painted Kutani Ware
A special highlight among the many goods is the kutani porcelain from Ishikawa prefecture. The characteristic of this rather old style of Japanese porcelain is its very vivid colors – and this is also true for the Ultraman collaboration. The beloved hero is painted in bright, beautiful colors, making every tea party, breakfast, or coffee break a unique event!
Available for 1,000 yen plus consumption tax. Produced by Kutaniyaki Saishokai.
Alien Baltan Came to Clip your Nails!
The Alien Baltan are back, as invader-y as ever! This time around, however, it’s not Planet Earth they’re after but your fingernails instead. The surface of these scissors is painted in the traditional coating technique of Kishu lacquerware, making the product one of the most popular of the entire online store, according to a spokesman. Understandably so; who doesn’t want to be manicured by menacing Baltans from space?
Available for 3,300 yen plus consumption tax. Produced by Narita Corporation.
Cooking with a Hero – Get Your Hands on the Ultraman Apron!
Made by an apron specialty shop, this apron is both crafted from traditional fabrics and dyed with traditional methods, and thus a real “Made in Japan” unique item. It comes right from Japan’s leading apron production area, made with yarn spun by master craftsmen from the city of Toyohashi in Aichi prefecture, feeling both light and gentle to the touch. With Ultraman being an icon of pop culture and these apron makers being icons of Japanese traditional craftsmanship, there’s hardly a more noble way to cook!
Available for 3,800 yen plus consumption tax. Produced by Anything.
Ancient Art and Modern Motifs: the Ultraman Ukiyo-e Series
This fascinating woodblock print series consists of two unique pieces, printed on the finest of Japanese washi paper. The “Prince of Monsters” print which you can see above is centered on episode 26 and 27 of the original show in which Ultraman faces the monster Gomora – with the magnificent Osaka Castle in the background. This beautiful traditional take on a modern phenomenon is a must-have for all fans of the series.
Available for 45,000 yen plus consumption tax. Produced by HOBBY STOCK Inc.
The second ukiyo-e print of the series pays homage to the many antagonists of the Ultraman series in one big, beautiful panorama. This vivid parade of villains features well-known evildoers such as Alien Baltan, Eleking, Pigmon, and all sorts of other creatures and aliens that made an appearance in the show and had one or more brawls with Ultraman and his friends. Why only celebrate the hero?
While many might think that Ultraman is primarily a hero to children, the many different goods in the online shop demonstrate that his fans aren’t just of one generation or age. This is precisely why the website Ultra-J as well as its online shop is so incredibly popular. Having grown up with the superhero or having fallen in love with his adventures later on, there’s no one who shouldn’t celebrate Ultraman’s anniversary and fancy up their day to day lives with a couple of unique and high-quality Ultraman goods!
“In the near future, we plan to offer a more goods featuring unique designs to choose from. Goods that truly represent the 'Ultraman x Made in Japan' spirit that we want to convey”, says a spokesman.
As for the unique fusion between tradition and modernity that Japan is so famous for, this Ultraman anniversary event and its many amazing goods truly is one of the most intriguing manifestations – one that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on!