Do you have a lot of stuffed animals and toys? You may think so. But Masao Gunji from Japan most likely has a bigger toy collection than you and it’s all about Hello Kitty.
Gunji is from Yotsukaido, Chiba Prefecture in Japan. He has the official Guinness World Record for the biggest Hello Kitty toy collection in the world at 5169 items, The Gazette reports.
What’s more, he actually has more than twice that amount of toys. It’s just that only some are recognized by Guinness as actual collectors’ items.
Gunji who is 68 years old, started his toy collection about 30 years ago. He was visiting Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture where he found and bought a Kitty ornament because he thought it was cute.
“I felt relief from work gazing at her eyes”, he says. Gunji was a policeman so he had quite a stressful job. So, he continued to buy more Hello Kitty toys.
This also brought him some stress though. His father wasn’t pleased with this hobby and even called him a disgrace. Gunji though didn’t stop. He would reply that “Kitty soothes me and motivates me to work hard”.
After he retired, he could dedicate most of his time to Hello Kitty and his hobby. His collection started to grow immensely. It became so huge, that he actually build a separate house for it as an extension to his home. It’s called the Kitty house and it’s open to fans and kids.
Gunji says he’s always heartened by the smiles of those who come. Sharing the hobby is half the fun. So, as he continued to collect Hello Kitty toys and stuffed animals, he decided to challenge the Guinness World Record. Last November he chose toys from his collection and 5169 were accepted. With this he overturned the previous record of 4519 Hello Kitty toys.
Gunji is also happily married. His wife Yoshiko, 76, met him well after he was already collecting toys. “At first I wondered if he was okay but gradually I learned that he’s a kind, good-hearted person,” she said. “Collecting Kitty is his purpose in life. Since he’s gotten this far, I want him to keep at it.” And so she does.