Seller of educational toys finds a niche
With imported products, Bornelund President
Hiroko Nakanishi wants to change the way Japanese kids play
By HIROKO NAKATA Staff writer
With relatively few parks to run around in,
many children spend long hours either at cram schools or playing their
hand-held game consoles.
Hiroko Nakanishi, president of Bornelund
Inc., is on a mission to change the way Japanese children spend their free
"Children should grow up with a good
balance of heart, mind and body," Nakanishi, 63, told The Japan Times in a
Believing that children should have good
educational toys to play with, Nakanishi's company imports toys from Europe and
the United States that can be used safely indoors.
Bornelund was established in 1981 by Masayuki Nakanishi, Hiroko's husband,
who had worked for a Japanese trading company and handled imports of European
toys, including Lego blocks from Denmark.
He was impressed by foreign toys and puzzles that help children learn about
shapes and numbers.
The quality of these educational toys
imported by Bornelund slowly became well-known among Japanese mothers over the
past three decades by word of mouth.
In particular, the company got a boost when
a newspaper ran an article in October 2003 featuring Nakanishi and her efforts
to popularize quality toys.
Sales in the business year that ended in
January stood at ¥3.69 billion, up about 30 percent from five years ago.
For example, one of the most popular toys
is called Looping. The Dutch creation teaches children shapes and colors using
small beads that can be manipulated on looped and twisted wires.
The Japan Times: Tuesday, April 29, 2008
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