What is Konapun?
What is Konapun?
Konapun is an awesome Japanese toy that lets you make ultra-realistic miniature fake food. It comes with all of the "ingredients" you need to make whatever the theme of the kit is plus adorable little utensils and cooking implements that make the process more realistic. There is actually no heat involved in making the food. All you do is mix these special powders with water.
The toy goes to amazing lengths to make it look and feel like a realistic cooking process. So for example, if you are making something fried like donuts you drop the "donuts" into fake "oil" and it bubbles as if it was really frying. This bubbling/frying effect is used in several Konapun toys such as the hamburger grill and one that makes tempura.
It's astounding how real each of the food items look in the end. For example, the rice separates into tiny clumps that look just like sticky rice. And the marinara sauce on the spaghetti is runny and looks just like real sauce. Couple that with the kits' tiny mixing bowls, spatulas, cookie cutters, and other tools, and it makes for a fascinating toy.
What is is made out of?
The word Konapun means (according to Google's translator) "of this starch." I assume that perhaps a better translation would be "made of starch" but I'm not quite sure. Here is the Japanese word Konapun: こなぷん.
The starch in this case is starch powder derived from seaweed. More specifically it is called alginic acid or alginate.
The kits come with multiple packets of starch that are all chemically different so that when you mix them with water and work them into the food item they are supposed to look like, they really take on that look amazingly well.
For the items that look like they are frying in oil, the "oil" includes citric acid which interacts with the alginate and forms tiny bubbles which simulate a frying effect.
Is it edible?
Konapun is not supposed to be eaten. Although it would appear that it is non-toxic.
How long does it last?
I'm not sure how long it lasts but I often see descriptions of Konapun that say it doesn't last forever and eventually "rots."
When was it invented?
I'm not sure exactly when it was invented but I do know that it was re-released by Bandai in 2006 and I've seen multiple references from that year which say it was a toy people remembered from 20 years ago. So I gather that it first came out in about 1985 or so and then was re-released in 2006 by Bandai. I'm not sure who manufactured it back in the 1980s though.
Who manufactures it now?
Bandai was manufacturing Konapun toy kits from 2006 to 2009. It looks to me like they don't manufacture it anymore. And in fact, I was in Tokyo in 2010 and I happened upon lots of really great toy stores with huge selections of toys and didn't see a single Konapun kit. So I'm afraid it might be true that it is no long manufactured.
Where can I buy it these days?
Check out our article for tips on buying Konapun. It's definitely still possible to find it!