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Bandai Co., Ltd.
Native name
Romanized name
Kabushiki-gaisha Bandai
Private K.K.
Founded5 July 1950;69 years ago (1950-07-05)
FounderNaoharu Yamashina
Headquarters Taitō, Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Masaru Kawaguchi President
  • Toys
  • Figurines
  • Music
  • Prize machines
  • Video games
Number of employees
817 (as of June 2018) [1] [lower-alpha 1]
Parent Bandai Namco Holdings

Bandai Co., Ltd.(株式会社バンダイ,Kabushiki-gaisha Bandai) is a Japanese toy maker and a producer of a large number of plastic model kits as well as a former video game company. It was the world's third-largest producer of toys in 2008 after Mattel and Hasbro. [3] [4] Some ex-Bandai group companies produce anime and tokusatsu programs. Its headquarters is located in Taitō, Tokyo. [5]

Toy Thing to be played with

A toy is an item that is used in play, especially one designed for such use. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life in society. Different materials like wood, clay, paper, and plastic are used to make toys. Many items are designed to serve as toys, but goods produced for other purposes can also be used. For instance, a small child may fold an ordinary piece of paper into an airplane shape and "fly it". Newer forms of toys include interactive digital entertainment. Some toys are produced primarily as collectors' items and are intended for display only.

Plastic model

A plastic model is a plastic scale model manufactured as a kit, primarily assembled by hobbyists, and intended for static display. A plastic model kit depicts various subjects, with a majority depicting military and civilian vehicles. A kit varies in difficulty, ranging from a "snap-together" model that assemble straight from the box, to a kit that requires special tools, paints, and cements.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.



Former logo Bandai early logo.png
Former logo

In 1947, Naoharu Yamashina was working for the company of his brother-in-law, a textile wholesaler. As that segment of the market was going weak at the time, he realized about the potential of the toy industry. He successfully convinced his brother-in-law to dedicate a portion of the company's activities in that industry and to be in charge of it. [6] Step by step, Yamashina developed a toy distribution empire within the company. On July 1950, Yamashina took full control of the toy distribution business, renamed it and founded the company Bandai-ya whose name was eventually shortened to Bandai in 1961. [7] [8] [9]

In its first year, Bandai produced its first internal game, the Rhythm Ball, [10] and its first metallic toy, a reproduction of the B-26. [8] It also began the exportation of toys. As the company expanded, Bandai increased its exportations by building up in 1953 a new warehouse outside of Komagata. Several services were created within the company such as quality control, an R&D department and a transport division. [8]

Douglas A-26 Invader family of attack bomber aircraft

The Douglas A-26 Invader is an American twin-engined light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Built by Douglas Aircraft Company during World War II, the Invader also saw service during several major Cold War conflicts. A limited number of highly modified United States Air Force aircraft served in Southeast Asia until 1969. It was a fast aircraft capable of carrying a large bomb load. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft.

In early 1955, Bandai founded the subsidiary Waraku Works, a manufacturing facility. [8] [6] During the summer, Bandai moved to new headquarters in Taito-ku, not far from Komagata. [8] The first company logo was created using the initials "BC" based on the first letters of Bandai Company. [8] [6] At the end of the year, Bandai launched its first product under guarantee, a mini replica of the Toyopet Crown car. [8] [6] [11]

In 1958, Bandai introduced its first television commercial using the slogan « The Red Box means a BC-guaranteed toy ». [6] In the middle of the following year, the company launched a lineup of mini toys representing car models from all over the world dubbed as "Cars of the World". [6] [8] The company logo was redesigned to emphasize on the quality of Bandai's products and was known as the "Banzai mark". [8] [6] [11]

In the 1960s Bandai expanded to include international export sales. The management was handed to a new subsidiary created in New York called Bandai Overseas Supply. [12] [6] [9] Bandai's racing car set, which first appeared in 1962, became a huge success.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

In 1963, Bandai separated the transportation service from the company to become its own subsidiary called Bandai Transport. [13] Due to an increase of activity volume, the company relocated to new offices in Asakusa, Taitō. [9] Bandai launched the toy Astro Boy , based on the character of the animated series. [9] It was the first time Bandai was creating a toy based on an existing hero. [9]

Bandai continued to expand in the 1970s with the creation of several subsidiaries; Tonka Japan in 1970 following a joint venture with Tonka, [14] Bandai Models being established in 1971, and finally Popy, [15] , who specialized in the manufacturing of toy characters. [6] [16] Although not their most profitable range, Bandai's 1/48 scale AFV models dominated that segment of the model kit market. Bandai America Inc. was established as local US sales/marketing operation in 1978. Spacewarp, a line of build-it-yourself toy rolling ball "roller coasters" was introduced by Bandai in the 1980s.

In May 1980, Makoto Yamashina, son of the founder, became president of Bandai. Naoharu Yamashina became chairman of the board. Upon his arrival, Makoto Yamashina completely changed the aging staff of Bandai and replaced it with young employees with the intent of not only bringing new ideas, but also revisiting the strategy of the group. The new president took a different commercial approach by selling directly to retailers rather than going through intermediates. [17] [6]

In July 1980, Bandai launched the Gundam Plastic Model based on the animated series which gave birth to the Gunpla series. [18] [19] In November, the subsidiary Celent was created. [17]

In November 1985, Bandai introduced the first video game based on the manga Kinnikuman : the NES title Tag Team Match: MUSCLE , which sold more than one million copies. [20]

Since the 1980s, Bandai has become the leading toy company of Japan, and to this day, has the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties including Daikaiju , Ultraman , Super Robot , Kamen Rider , the Super Sentai and Power Rangers series (which they took part in creating), Gundam and many others.

The management of Bandai and Sega discussed a merger in the late 1990s and voted to implement it, [21] [22] but the merger was later cancelled, citing "cultural differences", after a large scale protest by Bandai's middle management. [23] [24] Makoto Yamashina stepped down as president immediately afterwards, stating, "I feel responsible for the troubles related to the merger." [25]

After its merger with game developer and amusement facility operator Namco in 2005, Bandai Company is now under the management and a member of Bandai Namco Holdings (Bandai Namco Group). Following a group reorganisation in 2006, Bandai heads the group's Toys and Hobby Strategic Business Unit (SBU). [26]

On February 2018, Saban Brands and Bandai's US division jointly announced a mutual agreement to not renew their Power Rangers master toy license, effective Spring 2019, after which competing toy company Hasbro will inherit the license. This transition will not effect Bandai Japan's Super Sentai master toy license with Toei.

A sister company, Bandai Spirits, was established on 15 February 2018. On 1 April 2018, the division of Bandai Co., Ltd that dealt with products for adult customers (including figures and plastic models) as well as Banpresto's prizes business were transferred over to Bandai Spirits. [27]


Before the formation of Bandai Namco Holdings, Bandai had many subsidiaries. After group reorganization in 2006, they are managed under several strategic business units (SBUs) of the group. Further detail:

Toys and Hobby SBU


In 1971, Bandai founded its subsidiary company Popy which helped to launch toylines such as Chogokin and Machine Robo . It was merged into its parent company in 1983.

Bandai USA

Bandai USA (doing business as Bandai America Incorporated) is the American distribution arm of Bandai that makes toy products for the U.S. market and manufactures Tamagotchi , Big Hero 6 , Digimon , and Ben 10 toys. Other past products include

Bandai UK

Bandai Europe

Visual and music contents SBU

Bandai Visual

Bandai Visual Co. Ltd., produces and distributes many popular anime and tokusatsu titles. These titles include Cowboy Bebop , Big O , Outlaw Star , Please Teacher! , Escaflowne , and the popular Gundam , Kamen Rider , Ultraman , and Super Sentai series. Their subsidiaries include the Emotion Music Company Limited, in which the logo is the Moai, a statue found on Easter Island. They now head the Visual and Music Contents SBU. Their North American division, Bandai Visual USA was absorbed into Bandai Entertainment (also a division of Bandai Visual) on 1 July 2008.

Bandai Entertainment

Bandai Entertainment was a subsidiary of Bandai Visual that was involved in the distribution of numerous anime in North America, as well as manga, American-made graphic novels and other merchandising ventures related to anime. Their headquarters in the United States were located in Cypress, California. They had a European subsidiary named Beez Entertainment (also a subsidiary of Bandai Visual) who handled European licensing & distribution rights to their library. The first part of Beez Entertainment's name stood for Bandai Entertainment European Zone, as Bandai Entertainment had operations in Europe. Beez Entertainment was based in France. Bandai Entertainment absorbed Bandai Visual's North American division, Bandai Visual USA, at the start of July 2008, and as a result, they were taken over by Bandai Visual, who then became their new parent company (though Bandai Entertainment continued to be part of Bandai). In addition, Bandai Visual also took over Beez Entertainment as their entry into the European market, and Beez Entertainment also continued to be part of Bandai as well.

However, Bandai Entertainment is no longer acquiring licenses to new anime, [28] and as of 1 March 2013, they are no longer distributing and publishing home video in North America except for some. [29] Also, Beez Entertainment is no longer releasing new anime in Europe. [30]


Carddass is the Bandai subsidiary responsible for releasing trading card games based on popular Bandai franchises. This includes games such as the Gundam War Collectible Card Game based on the Gundam metaseries, as well as a Gash Bell ( Zatch Bell! ) TCG, Naruto CCG , Rangers Strike ( Super Sentai series, Kamen Rider series, Metal Hero series), Neon Genesis Evangelion Ultra Galaxy Daikaijyu Battle ( Ultra series) and most recently their most successful to date, the Battle Spirits Trading Card Game .


Game contents SBU

Bandai Games (now Bandai Namco Entertainment as of 2015)

Bandai Games produced and distributed video games based on Bandai properties including Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front , Gundam Wing: Endless Duel and Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo .

In the early 1990s, Bandai published games for Nintendo in the United Kingdom, including Street Fighter II on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. [31]

In the beginning of 2005, Bandai Games opened a United States office as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai America which, prior to that, handled the publishing of video games in North America itself.

On 31 March 2006, it merged with Namco Ltd. which was renamed Bandai Namco Games Inc.


2006 Bandai Direzza SC430. SuperGT-BANDAI.jpg
2006 Bandai Direzza SC430.

In 2006, Bandai entered Super GT with Lexus SC, and won 2006 Super GT Season GT500 Class Round 3 Overall Winner and ranked on fifth place in GT500 Class.


The Pippin Atmark Pippin-Atmark-Console-Set.jpg
The Pippin Atmark

During the late 1970s, Bandai sold the TV Jack console line: a series of pong based consoles. The last of the series was the Bandai Super Vision 8000 console released in 1979. It wasn't a simple pong based console system but a cartridge system with an 8-bit NEC D780C (Z80 clone) as CPU.

During the early 1980s, Bandai distributed a number of videogame machines. In 1982 the Bandai Arcadia, a variant of the Emerson Arcadia 2001, was released in Japan by Bandai. There were also four Japan-exclusive game releases which were the only known Arcadia titles written by other companies than UA Ltd. They also released local variants of the Intellivision and vectrex game consoles.

Bandai produced a running mat called the Family Fun Fitness System for the Nintendo Entertainment System starting in 1986. A series of games was released both in the US and in Japan, including Athletic World and Stadium Events for the NES. Shortly after its release, Nintendo purchased the rights to the FFF mat in North America, replacing it with their own redesign, the Power Pad. In order to maintain branding continuity, Stadium Events was pulled from shelves after a short period of availability at Woolworth's stores. Because the game was pulled from shelves and discontinued before many copies were sold, Bandai's Stadium Events is universally accepted as the rarest licensed NES game released in North America. [32] [33] A shrinkwrapped copy of the game sold for $41,270 on eBay in February 2010. [34] The sister game to Stadium Events, called Athletic World was initially released with a label that indicated compatibility with the Family Fun Fitness mat, but was later re-released with an updated label that mentions the Power Pad instead. [35] Stadium Events was not released by name again, but instead was slightly modified and relaunched as the Power Pad pack-in game, World Class Track Meet .

In the 1990s, Bandai teamed up with Apple to make the Pippin. They also made their own game console, the Playdia. Neither was a mass-market success. In 1999, Bandai created the WonderSwan portable game system. It, and its update, the WonderSwan Color, sold modestly well, but were unable to seriously challenge the dominant Game Boy Color and later, the Game Boy Advance. It was discontinued in 2003.

Handheld systems

Swan Crystal SwanCrystal-Wine-Left.jpg
Swan Crystal

Bandai has also released a series of handheld game consoles including the WonderSwan, WonderSwan Color and Swan Crystal. The systems were only released in Japan.

Bandai has also released a series of LCD games including Tuttuki Bako (released in Japan in 2008) and the LCD Solarpower series (released in the 1980s in both regions).

Games developed/published by Bandai

Bandai Super Vision 8000
Arcadia 2001
Bandai RX-78
Mac OS
Sega Game Gear
Game Boy
Nintendo DS
Sega Genesis
PlayStation 2
Sega Saturn
Nintendo GameCube
Virtual reality / Augmented reality
Game Boy Advance

See also


  1. An additional 408 employees work at Bandai Spirits Co., Ltd, a separate company established in 2018 that originated as a division of Bandai Co., Ltd. [2]

Related Research Articles

Digimon, short for "Digital Monsters", is a Japanese media franchise encompassing virtual pet toys, anime, manga, video games, films and a trading card game. The franchise focuses on Digimon creatures, which are monsters living in a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks.

Playdia home video game console

The Playdia is a home video game console released exclusively in Japan in 1994 at the initial price of ¥24,800. It was intended for a young audience and, like many consoles of the era, was marketed more as a multimedia home entertainment system than as a dedicated gaming console, with anime quiz software and edutainment making up most of the game library. The Playdia uses a single infrared joypad with simple controls. Bandai, the Playdia's manufacturer, was the only software publisher to support this console.

Tamagotchi handheld digital pet

The Tamagotchi (たまごっち)[tamaɡotꜜtɕi] is a handheld digital pet, created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai. It was released by Bandai on November 23, 1996 in Japan and May 1997 in the rest of the world, quickly becoming one of the biggest toy fads of the 1990s and early 2000s. As of 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis had been sold worldwide. As of 2017, over 82 million units have been sold. Most Tamagotchi are housed in a small egg-shaped computer with an interface usually consisting of three buttons, although the number of buttons may vary.

Bandai Visual visual planning

Bandai Visual Co., Ltd. (Formerly known as AE Planing, Network Frontier and Bandai Media, was a Japanese anime, film production and distribution enterprise, established by Bandai Company, Limited and a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings, Inc.

Yasuhiro Takato is a Japanese voice actor who works for Aoni Production.


Banpresto Co., Ltd. was a Japanese toy company, and a former game developer and publisher, headquartered in the Shinagawa Seaside West Building in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The current iteration of the company was formed on April 1, 2008, with the focus on the toy consumer business.The company was dissolved in February 2019 and combined to Bandai Spirits, with the company getting all the rights and duties of Banpresto.

Carddass is a name given to Bandai's card vending machines and, thus, a generic term given to the cards sold by these machines. The name comes from AMeDAS, a system in Japan used for gathering weather data. The aim behind this naming is to make Carddass an information source for kids. Carddass is a registered trademark of Bandai.

Eighting Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It is known for its shoot 'em ups and its licensed fighting games.

Daewon Media company

Daewon Media, formerly Daiwon C&A Holdings, is a South Korean company specializing in character and animation-related business. Founded in 1973, Daewon's subsidiaries include Daiwon C.I., Haksan Publishing, and Daewon Broadcasting, and it is involved in comic publishing, animation production, video gaming, character licensing, TV animation broadcasting, and animation importing/exporting. Its current Chair and Co-CEO is Wook Jung, and its President and Co-CEO is Hyeon-dong Ahn.

Ocean Productions, Inc. is a Canadian media production company based in Vancouver, British Columbia that is part of the Ocean Group of businesses. Ocean Group is involved in intellectual property acquisition and development, co-production and the creation of English versions of animation for worldwide distribution.

Bandai Namco Holdings Japanese holding company

Bandai Namco Holdings Inc. (BNHD), also known as the Bandai Namco Group, is a Japanese holding company which was formed from the merger of Bandai and Namco on September 29, 2005. It specializes in toys, video games, arcades, anime, and amusement parks. Bandai Namco also supply various arcade machines to movie theaters and arcades across the globe.

The SuFami Turbo (スーファミターボ), often compared to the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, is an accessory released by Bandai for Nintendo's Super Famicom system and was released in 1996.

Bang Zoom! Entertainment

Bang Zoom! Entertainment is an audio post-production studio with its headquarters in Burbank, California in Greater Los Angeles. It has worked on anime, video games, television series, feature films, and original animation projects. It is a renowned anime dubbing company, providing English voice-over work.

Studiopolis, Inc. is an American post-production studio located in Studio City, Los Angeles. It specializes in voiceover recording and dubbing for several cartoon, anime, and video game projects. They were formerly known as Screenmusic Studios and then Studio E Productions until 2005. The studio is owned by Jamie Simone. It has another studio located in Burbank, California.

Data Carddass is a series of Japanese arcade game machines created by Bandai, which largely focus around the digital use of collectible trading cards. It is an expansion of Bandai's Carddass collectible card series, which allows players to use special cards to interact with arcade video games. Many of these machines revolve around various anime and tokusatsu franchises owned by Bandai. The machines first began release in Japanese arcade from March 2005.

B.B. Studio Japanese video game developer

B.B. Studio is a Japanese video game development company. The company in its current form is a result of a merger between Bandai Entertainment Company and Banpresto video game assets, by their parent company, Bandai Namco Entertainment.


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  27. {
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