Yashica’s ‘Sailor Boy’ – 1962

Yashica’s advertising figurine the ‘Sailor Boy’ first appeared in 1962 – closely associated with the launch of Yashica’s J-3 35mm single-lens reflex camera. It was made for Yashica by Modern Plastics of Japan and was produced in a variety of sizes – from a 20cm shop and dealer display model down to this little 10cm guy.

This one ⇓ came to our collection from Germany and man was he a dirty guy!


Covered with a coat of nicotine and grime, he looked like he was in a bar room fight! But he has a good casting and the paint looks good. Notice how grungy his hat is.


Since he was covered with a thin film of nicotine he was sticky!


Looks like he has a black eye!

After some restoration work in the studio, he’s looking ⇓ much better and brighter.


Nice and shiny! Still a hint of a black smudge near his right eye.


His hat is white again. If you look to collect one, be sure to look closely at the hat. Often the casting will be a bit porous there and show some pitting. This one is nice and smooth.


The manufacturer’s marks on the bottom. The round spot was meant to insert a small magnet so as to keep him in his place.

Made in Japan by Modern Plastics for Yashica. He’s never been given an official name from Yashica so we’ve always called him ‘Sailor Boy’ for obvious reasons. Some of the figurines will have ‘Yashica’ in katakana characters on the hat. We don’t have one like that – yet.


The 20cm shop model with the J-3. The eyelashes are different on the larger models otherwise they’re the same.


Not our collection! Wish it was! There is one missing – a 10 cm ‘Sailor Boy’ with green shoes otherwise this collection is complete. Notice the large doll on the back left does not have Yashica on his hat but does have green shoes. The one with the camera was released for the launch of the Yashica Electro 35 and as best as I can tell he’s modeled after Wee Willie Winkie from the Scottish nursery rhyme. These are on display at a Tokyo store that specializes in collectible figurines and dolls.

Thanks for your visit! And yes, we take donations of unwanted ‘Sailor Boys’!!! JK

Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W


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