Horikawa – ChangeMan
For more than 40 years the real story of Horikawa`s ( SH) / Marumiya – ChangeMan was a mystery. Yes there were rumours, there were guesses and everybody in the scene talked about this mysterious robot. First pictures showed up in the Kitahara collection. After that some changeman robots surfaced but all seem to be different, with and without belt, kaleidoscope, different remotes, different heads, painted and unpainted, moving arms and non moving arms, white boxes, colored boxes…… yes I think that Changeman was the robot with the most questions, the most “gaps” and the most mystery…..untill now !!
MARUMIYA – CHANGEMAN to be concluded !!!!
The story starts in Japan in were Mr Shinji Miyazawa was born. He worked for many years for the tin toy company MARUMIYA. This company still excists but we all better know it now as Metal House these days. MARUMIYA was the tin toy company of Shinji`s father and was founded in the early fifties. The company`s name was Miyazawa Inc. at the start, later changed to Marumiya in the sixties and in the nineties the company`s name was changed again to Metal House.
In the early seventies Shinji Miyazawa started the Changeman project at the MARUMIYA company, the company from his father were he was working at that time. So YES, Changeman was made by MARUMIYA for the toy distributor Horikawa in 1972. Many collectors these days ( including me 🙂 believe or believed that Horikawa was a manufacturer of tin toy robots with their own factories but Man oh man we were all wrong here !! Yonezawa, Nomura, Daiya and many others were distibuters and not manufacturers of tin toys ( read robots 🙂
So in the early fifties… the factory MIYAZAWA Inc. started to produce and manufacture tin toys and tin robots for the Japanese distributors like Horikawa, Yonezawa, Nomura, Daiya and many others.
Miyazawa Company changed their name in the early sixties to MARUMIYA, and Shinji Miyazawa, the son of the founder, worked in his fathers company Marumiya.
Shinji`s father also created Smoking Robot for Yonezawa, Astronauts for TERAI ( Daiya ) and many other robots. Than, in the early seventies his son, Shinji, was put on a project called ChANGEMAN. Shinji made the drawings and created this robot in 1972. The robot was registered in the same year by his mother who was the president of the Marumiya company at that time. To be exact:
Toys Registration Society of Japan: SUPER CHANGE MAN with register number 5263 at November 11th in 1972. ( I found the original registering papers of changeman in a box full with drawings, info and blueprints )
Changeman was intended to be a high end robot with unique actions like swinging arms, opening dinohead, human highly painted detailed head and kaleidoscope action in the chest. It had to be sold in a 5000 JPY pricerange but Horikawa had a good selling robot at that time: Super Giant Robot that was sold in a 3000 JPY pricerange and did not want to sell robots priced higher than the 3000 JPY pricerange. Because of this there was not much interest from Horikawa in the Changeman Project.
Shinji Miyazawa reduced the actions of Changeman and removed the kaleidoscope action, painted head details and swinging arms to bring the robot back into a 3000 JPY pricerange.
10 samples were made and sent to Horikawa who sent the samples to their distributors in the United States. The samples had red unpainted dinohead and human head.
The overseas reactions were low and the robot was supposed to be too expensive so no orders were placed for Changeman.
Marumiya`s Project Changeman failed. The factory made parts for 50 robots of which 10 were build up and sent to Horikawa as sample toys. ( Horikawa sent these to their US distirbutors )
Again 10 robots were build up and Marumiya now tried to sell the robots by theirselves. It did not work out and the project was stopped.
The Remaining parts for about 30 other changeman robots were put in bags and boxes and stored away in Marumiya`s Factory. Normally these parts would have been thrown away but Shinji Miyazawa did not want his project to end up in the garbage and made sure the parts were stored away.
New projects were started and Shinji was sent back to the drawing table to create, invent and draw new project. The factory was busy and the changeman project was forgotten.
Than, 12 years later a good friend of Shinji Miyazawa visited the factory. This friend was nobody else thanTeruhisa Kitahara, which we all know these days. Shinji and Teruhisa talked about the projects for days and than Shinji started to talk about the Changeman Project and remembered the stored away parts in the factory. After a 3 days search they finally found the boxes that still contained parts for 30 robots. Kitahara was very interested and explained Shinji that there would be a great interest by collectors for this Changeman Robot. Shinji agreed to build up 10 robots again for Kitahara to sell to collectors all over the world. The rest of the parts for 20 robots were stored away in the factory again and waited there untill Shinji Miyazawa retired.
As he was one of the few remaining real craftsman that retired he brought the remaining parts of Changeman and many other parts, tools and prototypes of robots back to his home were he continued to work with robots as a hobby and he started his own little company called Robot Art.
He had parts left for 20 changeman robots and started to build up 12 of them in the year 2009 to 2012 and sold only a few of them, 3 to be exact !.
The remaining 9 build up changeman, the remaing parts and a few prototypes were found at his house 2 months after he passed away in april 2014.
Early july 2014 i came into contact with a good friend in Japan who was involved in cleaning up the workshop of Shinji and I was able to save the History of Changeman. I bought the remaining 9 build up Changeman robots, 4 prototypes, all the remaining parts, the tools, drawings, blueprints, original registration and much more interesting AND historical stuff.
Most of it will be put in a museum in 2015 in the Netherlands. The Legacy of Mr Shinji Miyazawa, the creator of Changeman is important. I was able to keep the Legacy together. Its historical important to the collecting world of robots and spacetoys.
Looking at the parts you can see perfectly the history this robot went through. The search for perfection and the stages as described here above. There are roughly 3 different Changeman Robots.
with kaleidoscope, swinging arms, and highly detailed painted dino and human heads.
Then there are the price reduced ones without kaleidoscope and static arms with an unpainted green human head and also a few without the belt but with full lithoed frontpanel with kaleidoscope and static arms.
Also the remaining parts are interesting because they contain different legs, a handmade prototype of the robots mechanism and fantactic tools that were used to create this robot. Further there are a couple of boxes with unfinished prototypes and sample robots. Some of them are party build up, used for testing, used to create the perfect Changeman. There are many original drawings of this robot, projects and mechanisms as well. In the next months I will try to rebuild these prototypes as they were meant to be. Will be a hell of a job but at the end there will be a perfect insight in the brain of this legendary man: Shinji Miyazawa…..
Marumiya – Changeman… the robot with a story that was covered in mystery is now a piece of Robot history that will be kept for the next generation.
UPDATE: In 2015 I finally decided that I had to do something about the white plain box for this robot. I came into contact with Nop Mercx. An artist living close to my workshop. a friend of mine brought me in contact with Nop and we started to talk about artwork as it was made for robots and spacetoys in the golden age… Together we worked out a plan to create some smashing artwork for Changeman and i think the result is STUNNING !….
Changeman finally now has the box the robot needed all those years… High End box, made exactly as the boxes were made in Japan in the fifties and sixties.. Limited to 50 pieces !
So if you have a ChangeMan and want to complete it with an original Made box than feel free to contact me.
CFP: Contact me For Price at firstname.lastname@example.org