Events News

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles Announces Plush Toy Drive to Deliver “KAWAII” to Young Patients at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital

JAPAN HOUSE Kawaii is art

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles announces its first-ever “Yes, KAWAII is Art” Plush Toy Drive, collecting kawaii plushie toys to support the Chase Child Life Program at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Translating to “cute” or “adorable,” the toy drive is in fitting with the kawaii movement, which fosters a sense of joy, self-love, and community.


Headline image – “Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-” with Sebastian Masuda, Photo by Yuta Sawamura – Source: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles


A visit or stay in the hospital can be particularly unsettling for UCLA’s youngest patients. The Chase Child Life Program at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital helps young patients cope with their fears and anxieties by offering an opportunity to play, and to forget – even just for a moment – that they’re in the hospital. From now through July 31, visitors can drop off new and tagged plushie stuffed animals at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, which will be donated directly to the Chase Child Life Program at UCLA.


The plushie toy drive happens during a time the spirit of kawaii is being celebrated at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles with their recently launched exhibition, “Yes, KAWAII is Art -EXPRESS YOURSELF-” in partnership with renowned multi-disciplinary artist and “King of Kawaii” Sebastian Masuda. On display until November 3, 2024, the free exhibition brings together multiple Masuda artworks that unravel kawaii concepts while sharing his personal kawaii story with the world.


“I truly believe in the significance of the kawaii movement and the power of the colorful world of kawaii to help people in the world,” said Sebastian Masuda. “I have seen firsthand how people use kawaii to reflect on what is unique about themselves and help them cope with any challenges they might have. My hope is that the cute plushies bring delight to the youngest patients at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.”


“We are honored to partner with UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital to bring comfort and the world of kawaii to their youngest patients. We invite visitors to stop by the exhibition and consider donating a plushie to help further spread the kawaii spirit,” said Yuko Kaifu, president, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles.


Kawaii Toy Drive donations can be any size plushie stuffed animals but must be new with tags. This includes pillow pets, stuffed toys that make noise, and huggable plushies. Please see JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles event page here for more details.


For more information, visit the JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles website and social channels: Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and LinkedIn.


Sebastian Masuda began his career in theater and contemporary art in the early 1990s. In 1995, he opened the fashion shop 6%DOKIDOKI which became a platform for artistic expression. Currently working out of both Tokyo and New York, Masuda creates works that transcend the boundaries of art, fashion, and entertainment, showcasing a consistent and unique sense of color. From 2009 to 2011, Masuda conducted the “Harajuku Kawaii Experience” world tour, spreading awareness about the history of Harajuku and kawaii culture in over 20 cities, with a focus on Europe and the United States. As art director for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s 2011 “PONPONPON” music video, Masuda was pivotal in introducing kawaii culture to the world. In 2015, he created Tokyo’s Kawaii Monster Cafe, and in 2023, produced the restaurant SUSHIDELIC in New York, further contributing to the global recognition of kawaii culture.


As a vital part of UCLA Health, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital has the unique ability to care for children of all ages, from newborns to young adults. The state-of-the-art facility is designed to serve the most critically ill with sophisticated, compassionate pediatric care in an environment that is both welcoming and healing to children and their families. General pediatricians work alongside leading specialists and subspecialists, and our physician-scientists discover new treatments and innovations that transform pediatric health care. The vision of this extraordinary team and the generosity of our dedicated philanthropic partners help ensure a brighter tomorrow for all children.


JAPAN HOUSE is an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs – London, Los Angeles, and São Paulo – conceived by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It seeks to nurture a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan in the international community. Occupying two floors at Ovation Hollywood, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles offers a place of new discovery that transcends physical and conceptual boundaries creating experiences that reflect the best of Japan through its spaces and diverse programs.