There are only 2 factories in Japan making 3D Japanese erasers, one is Zensinsyoji Eraser Factory ゼンシンショウジ株式会社 under the brand DREAM or Yumenoaru, Yumenoaru 夢のある means “There is a dream” which is only used in Japan, while DREAM is used
both in Japan and for worldwide market. The other factory is Iwako. Both factories are
located fairly close to each others outside of Tokyo city limit.
The owners of Zensinsyoji and Iwako
were both salesmen at a Japanese stationery company in 1950s and 1960s, when that Japanese stationery company closed in the
1960s, both men went out and started their own stationery factories in 1968 making stationery and parts for other big Japanese
stationery companies, such as pen bodies and parts. They are cousins-in-law and competitors at the same time.
They started to make 3D Japanese erasers in the mid 1980s, at the early stage in more simple forms, the first three dimensional kawaii (means cute in Japanese) erasers
but without more sophisticated puzzle parts, and gradually developed into high quality and more complicated 3D puzzle erasers.
These erasers started to attract collectors worldwide in the 1990s, however, they were extremely hard to find and sold in very few places outside of
Japan. They were only sold in stationery stores in Japan. The invasion of big box chain
stationery stores in Japan in the late 1990s and early 2000s closed down most independent stationery stores in Japan, these
were the days without internet sales, both companies had a hard time finding outlets to sell their erasers. Since none of
them can read nor speak English, they had very little export market outside of Japan.
The breakthrough came in 2006 in the United States, when their U.S. distributor BC USA started to distribute their erasers in wider channels
and when internet became commonplace in homes. BC USA provides the distribution to thousands of American
stores, refocuses the erasers to the Western market, what the Japanese love are not the same as what Westerners love, and
BC USA built websites reaching millions of consumers directly.
INTERNET IS THE BREAKTHROUGH TOOL, prior to internet, salespeople, wholesalers or retailers hold
the keys, if they don’t like it, if they don’t “Get It”, they don’t buy them and they don’t
sell them, consumers never even know these products exist, there is no chance for potential great products to be successful
without massive advertising, they died before they had a chance to prove themselves. Internet became a direct line of communication
to the public, internet bypasses the distribution key holders to reach the consumers. Let consumers decide.
There are currently
746 authentic made in Japan “Japanese erasers”, including
colors and styles by May 2011.