How Stuffed Animals Bring Us Back to Childhood

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If you’ve ever held and hugged a stuffed animal, you know just how warm and comforting they are. They almost seem to have their own personalities and to be there in support of you through the toughest times or the best times of your life. Because of this, many people choose to have stuffed animals around when they feel sad or scared, or when they simply want to feel young again, remembering what it was like to spend time with a loved one who may not be around anymore. They don’t just bring us back to our childhoods; they help us get through them as well.

What are stuffed animals?

All across Japan, a small shop named Kawaii Plush (cute plush) has opened in malls and commercial centers. These stores carry only stuffed animals from foreign companies that specialize in designing adorable versions of classic toys. Where else would you find stuffed animals made after your favorite characters from Adventure Time, Hello Kitty, and Marvel? You’ll find a whole wall of My Heart Teddies; each animal is designed with a big heart symbol on its chest. Most of these plush animals cost around $40, which means they’re way cheaper than their original American counterparts. However, it might be hard to get one because some are very rare limited editions and sell out very quickly!

Why collect them?

The kawaii store My Heart Teddy has found that it sells more stuffed animals to women. The store also has a few theories about why plush toys have taken off: Women, it seems, are nostalgic for their childhoods, particularly their stuffed animals. To men who grew up without teddy bears or in more serious times, they’re cute. And stuffed animals can evoke feelings of nostalgia and happiness—one teddy bear owner told CNN that she felt as if her toy was alive when she was 12 years old and couldn’t sleep unless he was on her bed with her.

Where can you find them?

Although you might find people in their twenties and thirties at My Heart Teddy, in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, a lot of their customers are children. It definitely has that feeling of an old-school kawaii store, said owner Emily Foster. We don’t have very many products—just stuffed animals, plus some stationery and accessories. She added that she is determined to bring back one of those classic kawaii stores, which were once prevalent on Tokyo’s Takeshita Street (shopping street for young women), as well as Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. Kawaii was a fad here in New York a few years ago—Foster explained how Shibuya 109 was its epicenter—but it died down quickly.

What makes a stuffed animal special?

The main reason why stuffed animals are special is because they have a unique ability to bring us back to our younger days. You see, when you give someone a stuffed animal, you’re giving them an item that has nostalgic value. This can cause us all of us think back on our childhoods and remember moments from those times. The scent of a specific plushie could take you all the way back to when your grandmother gave it to you for your first day at school, or when you were playing with it under your favorite tree in your backyard. If you’ve ever wanted to turn back time, then stuffed animals are exactly what will get you there! Kawaii plush is a great place for getting that traditional Japanese stuffed animal that’ll bring you back in time!

Final thoughts.

Whether it’s due to our changing relationships with material goods or something else, there’s a clear trend in adults collecting cute stuffed animals. And just like kids, adults display these adorable critters on shelves and beds. Despite having been de-kidified, people still feel a sense of nostalgia when they see them. Perhaps more than ever before, adults are yearning for a return to their youth and its innocence. Or maybe it’s that Kawaii plush are simply too damn cute not to own—regardless of age.

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