Cardboard Robots, or kamirobo as they are referred to in Japanese, are the creation, Shukan Taishu claims, of artist Tomohiro Yasui, who maneuvers the grapplers with his own hands in the bouts telecast on a huge screen so everybody in the audience can see what’s happening.
Yasui has even managed to convince powerful toymakers like Bandai and Avex to market his cardboard ring warriors.
“I’ve been making the robots since my elementary school days and now I’ve got about 200 different robots,” Yasui tells Shukan Taishu.
Yasui’s first kamirobo were fairly simple, moving only their shoulders and elbows. Now, however, the cardboard wrestlers he makes move at all major limbs, giving them greater flexibility and a more realistic look when they are actually pitted in the ring.
“You can make them using cardboard from cake boxes or the packaging you get in business shirts, then color them in using markers, so they’re really cheap,” Yasui tells Shukan Taishu. “Because they’re made of cardboard, they can get pretty beat up after a fight. But I’m pretty good when it comes to fixing them up again and I do it a lot.”