Mojibakeru is derived from the Japanese words “moji” (character) and “bakeru” (to change). As the name suggests, these shape-shifting toys transform from the appropriate Japanese kanji pictograms into animals. With a few deft movements, Inu, the kanji character for “dog,” goes from black-and-white pictogram to Dalmatian, complete with movable tail. Mojibakeru is both a learning tool and a tangible demonstration of the historical link between symbol and object. Eighteen different figures are available, in various colors.
Gallery label from Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, July 24–November 7, 2011 .