OK, there is some debate among ourselves, but I am officially classifying the theft of Peko-chan statues as a trend.
Why? I state my case:
- This has been going on for a long, long time.
- There have been 10 cases in Wakayama prefecture since January alone.
- Now the yakuza want to cash in, as well. You know it’s a reliable source of income when the mob want a piece of the action.
So what’s the big deal with these over-sized bobble-head dolls anyway? It could be the era that they represent. The Peko-chan dolls are set up at the front of Fujiya sweets shops, and as Mari of Watashi to Tokyo wrote in 2005, Fujiya pastries hold a lot of nostalgic value to those who came of age in the Showa Era. These are now the people with the most disposable income in Japan. Add to that a hearty collector culture and online auction sites and it’s easy to see how some unscrupulous thief may want to make a quick – and substantial – wad of yen (these dolls were going for up to ¥200,000).
At any rate, you have to pity the fools who are going to jail over these dolls. Can you imagine this yakuza tough-guy standing in the yard of the prison?
“What you in for?” ask the tatooed, bench-pressing criminals around him.
“Uh . . . kidnapping?”