Tomy, founded in 1924, Japan, as Tomiyama and changing the name to Tomy in 1963 merged with long-time rival, Takara (founded in 1955), on 1st March 2006 to become Takara Tomy Co., Ltd. This company has its headquarters in Katsushika, Tokyo.
The decision to use the Tomy name in English and the Takara-Tomy name in Japanese was made for pragmatic reasons. Tomy has built considerable brand recognition internationally, particularly in the area of infant and preschool products, where brand trust is very important. On the other hand, most of Takara's international hit products (Microman, Transformers, Battle Beasts, Beyblade, B-Daman, et al.) have been sold and branded by other companies, most notably, Hasbro. Therefore, going through the costly process of registering and or changing the company name in all the countries where Tomy does business would have been expensive and unproductive. Thus, with the merged company's international subsidiaries continuing to use the Tomy name, it seemed appropriate to keep a domestic English name which matched that of the international subsidiaries.
In Japan, Takara-Tomy continues to use the former Tomy and Takara names as distinct brand names on toy lines which originated in each company, but most new toy lines or stand-alone products carry the new Takara-Tomy brand. Staple toy lines from each company are continuing, in many cases gaining synergy from the co-marketing of each other's properties. This merger gave the combined company near parity in domestic (Japan) toy market share to domestic rival Bandai.
As much as, and perhaps more than any other toy company, Tomy played a role in defining entire toy eras. Such was the case with its release in 1959 of its 'sky ping pong' set. Riding on the wave of popularity for ping pong in Japan -which during the period dominated world table tennis championships- the set, which consisted of basket-like, spring-loaded cups for catching and launching the ping pong ball, became one of the world's most ubiquitous toys. That toy was also the first Tomy toy to be made almost entirely of plastic.
Throughout the 1960s, Tomy continued to marry its gift for whimsy with a dedication to exploring new technical possibilities. The company became one of the first to investigate uses of new electronic capabilities offered by the development of transistors. Tomy released a new electromotive train set in 1961, and, in 1964, a talking doll powered by electronics. By then, too, the company had begun developing its first robots, a class of toy that remained a central part of Tomy's business into the next century. Tomy's first 'mecha-tronics' -based robot appeared in 1962. This led to the development of another huge international success for the company, a space expedition set launched in 1969, which sold more than two million units worldwide.
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