Japanese Exclusive JAL Barbie (1997)

You never know what you’ll find at a doll show! At the Chicago Toy Show recently, I picked up a pretty awesome Barbie doll. Now, I’m not a collector of all things Barbie, as you know, but I do have a love for Japanese exclusive Barbie’s. Using ‘my’ Barbie face mold (the pink box 90’s Barbie), these dolls have their own unique look to them. Most noticeably, in many cases, Barbie’s traditionally blue eyes are brown in the releases made solely for Japan.

 

 

This post is about the exclusive Japan Airlines Barbie, JAL Barbie, from 1997. What makes this Barbie stand out is that she’s dressed in an authentic JAL uniform complete with apron and handbag, a serving cart complete with tiny coffee cups and cutlery, and a tiny book of in-flight announcements. This pint-sized flight attendant has brown eyes and ash brown hair done up in a ponytail.

According to an article in Aviation Weekly, the airline expected to sell “30,000 dolls on 23 domestic routes during December”. Meaning, she was only sold aboard domestic JAL flights and not in stores or international flights. Some sellers are listing this as a December exclusive, which makes sense considering the Aviation weekly post, but I can’t say for certain if that’s true. It came in this cute pink bag, which I found bundled with this doll while researching.

 

Her box doubles as a simple playset, so if you buy one, be careful when you’re opening this Barbie.

 

I actually got this doll for a wonderful deal, judging by what I’m seeing online! The seller shared that her friend’s son was living in Japan and had picked on of these up for both her and his mom, since he knew they collected. I’ve never seen a JAL Barbie at the show before, so I’m happy to have spotted this! (Actually, my mom spotted this, so thank you, Mom!)

Here are some other interesting Japanese exclusive Barbie’s I found while poking around eBay! Notice their brown eyes.

Friends Forever Barbie (1999). Also worth looking into is Friends Forever Reina, a Japanese friend of Barbie’s who I’ll write about soon!

Barbie’s Bakery Shop (2006)- This blog has photos of this set.

Happy Birthday Barbie (2007)

Baking Barbie (1998)- Since I don’t read Japanese, I guessed on the names for this Barbie and the ones below it.

Bunny Barbie (2000)

Flower Barbie (I’d guess she’s from the 1990’s)

Do you own any dolls exclusive to Japan? Would you add them to your collection if you could? What do you think of JAL Barbie? Let us know in the comments!

July 4, 2019. Tags: . Uncategorized.

7 Comments

  1. Marie replied:

    This is bringing me down memory lane! Many of the Japanese market Barbies were sold in other parts of Asia as well. I remember I bought a bunch of the “Forever Friends” Reina in Taiwan because of the Steffie face. Here are some Japanese translations for you. Friends Forever Barbie (1999) is called “Schoolgirl Barbie” in Japanese. “Baking Barbie” (1998) is “I want to become a baker (literally, Cake-Maker) Barbie. Bunny Barbie (2000) is “Barbie and Mr/Miss Bunny”. Flower Barbie is “Classmate Barbie, Casual Blue”. You did a good job guessing the names! I cannot figure out how the last one got the name “Classmate Barbie”, as no one in Japan would wear that to school! Someone in the Mattel office must have been sleeping that day! Your “Flower Barbie” name sounds more reasonable! 🙂

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I’m happy I wasn’t completely off with my guesses! ha ha! From my years watching anime and Asian dramas, I’m with you– the Classmate Barbie name makes no sense. I would think she’d be in a school uniform!

  2. Helen Egeler replied:

    Very cool purchase! I think she looks in the face closer to a Skipper doll. Enjoy your self with her-it would be nice to set her up with other airline stewardesses and pilots of any Barbies or her friends in a picture or in a set up display on a shelf.

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I have a Kurhn doll themed around Hannan Alirlines on order. 🙂 The sad thing is most of the American based airlines have such cheap looking dolls. The foreign airlines have much better looking exclusives.

  3. RagingMoon1987 replied:

    I love how innocent these Japanese dolls look, with their soft makeup and ever-so-slightly anime eyes. I can’t wait to see your Reina; she’s so darn cute!

    • kewpie83 replied:

      Reina is one of my favorites. You’re right– they look so innocent!

  4. Wanda Richardson replied:

    WOW! I am LOVING those brown eyes on the Japanese Barbies, and what a GREAT addition and a Barbie conversation piece to have to a Barbie or a doll collector!

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