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Hamtaro Toys Launch at Times Square TRU

NEW YORK -- Aug. 20, 2002 -- Hamha! That's hamster-speak for "hello!" At least it is in the world of Hamtaro(TM), one of Japan's hottest children's properties, and quickly hitting the radar screens of American kids.

Today at Toys "R" Us Times Square, kids said hamha to Hasbro Inc.'s new toy line, based on the adorable and heart-warming hamster Hamtaro and his hamster pals, the Ham-Hams. With a popular animated series on Cartoon Network, excitement for Hamtaro was everywhere, as the Ham-Ham Dancers and Hamtaro costumed characters joined Hasbro to introduce the new toys to dozens of eager kids.

To help celebrate the arrival of Hamtaro toys, the amazing Ham-Ham Dancers presented the new toy line and taught Hamtaro's fun, high-energy "Ham-Ham Dance" to kids in attendance. Kids had a chance to check out first-hand the new plush, collectible mini-dolls, playsets, and mini-playsets that Hasbro has to offer. Costumed characters Hamtaro and Bijou were also on hand to greet the crowd and pose for photographs.

"It's already happening - the excitement for Hamtaro is amazing and it continues to grow every day. We're thrilled to introduce kids to America's first Hamtaro toys, which bring the whole fantasy to life," said Ira Hernowitz, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Hasbro, Inc. "And today is only the beginning."

"Since Hamtaro's launch on Cartoon Network in June, over 24 million unique viewers have enjoyed Hamtaro. The launch of Hasbro's toy line speaks to the early success of the show," said John Easum, Producer of the English version of Hamtaro, ShoPro USA.

"The success of Hamtaro in Japan, combined with how well the television show is performing on Cartoon Network to date, gives us reason to expect great things from Hamtaro for the fall," said Deborah Terrell, Buyer for Toys "R" Us.

The toy line, available at Toys "R" Us stores and major retailers nationwide this fall, includes a Ham-Ham House playset, two mini-playsets, plush, mini-plush and collectible mini-dolls. All toys are suggested for children, ages three and up.

About Hamtaro

Hamtaro is the story of 10-year-old Laura and the adventures of her cute and cuddly pet hamster, Hamtaro. Together with his "Ham-Ham Friends," a bunch of hamsters as clever and unique as Hamtaro himself, Hamtaro lives each day as a whole new adventure... complete with fun, excitement, and friendship.

In 1997, Hamtaro was introduced to Japanese children as a series of illustrated storybooks created by Ms. Ritsuko Kawai. The book series is based on Ms. Kawai's personal experience and relationship with her own pet hamster as a young girl. With wildly popular and very successful books, home videos, and even a motion picture, Hamtaro has captured the hearts of millions of kids in Japan and is poised to do the same in the U.S.

About the Hamtaro animated series:

Hamtaro premiered on Cartoon Network on June 3 and currently airs weekdays at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. (ET, PT) during Toonami. The animated television series follows Hamtaro, an insatiably curious hamster, and his group of hamster pals, known as the "Ham-Hams." Since its debut, Hamtaro has been one of the highest-rated programs on television among all networks in its timeslots in numerous kids' viewership categories.

About Hasbro

Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

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