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Until it became known as a local toy

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

This text is a reprint of the article on November 14, 2017 of the blog "Bingoya-san" that I "Zubonbo" has been writing since 2012.

"Folk crafts = local toys = souvenirs"

Alas, it's true that many people still think so.

No, many people don't know the word "local toys".

Naturally. Because there are few shops that sell local toys,

I don't usually see it so much.

However, there are some young people who are sensitive to fashion and can look back with their eyes like a plate with excitement, "It's the world of BRUTUS souvenirs."

In fact, the local toys are secretly breaking.


Hironobu Nakamura, the chairman of the Japan Folk Toy Association and the chairman of the All Japan Daruma Study Group, talked about local toys at the Tokyo Folk Art Association's regular meetings four times from September 2017. I did.

Until it became known as a local toy


Well, how did the local toys start?:

A long time ago, Shizuoka's ten dumplings (todango), which originated from the extermination of demons, and Shizuoka's spanking sticks (spanking sticks) hit the bride's ass and wished for a good child to be born. It seems that they were all over the place, but the ones in Shizuoka were colorful, with girls playing like tying their hair and boys playing like gunbai.

The culture of pottery visited during the Azuchi-Momoyama period, and Fushimi dolls began to spread throughout the country, and such things were already made before the Edo period.

Various came in from China and Korea.

The kite also came from China with the signal of war, Setsubun, and the red-colored culture.

Red is a dangerous color, and I put it around my child as a talisman to prevent smallpox. Tops come from Goryeo, Korea.

The battledore is to drive away mosquitoes.

Hina-sama began to flush the humanoid into the water, and the ornaments of Masato who imitated the princess and the palace in the palace, which were originally standing chicks, became inner chicks. People can't buy it in rural areas, so the common people made it with mud dolls and papier mache.

In the middle of the Edo period, ordinary people were able to spend a little money and even go on trips. Oyama in Kanagawa in the Kanto region, and Ise in the Kansai region.

When the common people say that they should do it when the harvest during the off-season is over, some people in the village start to play in the name of worship. I have to buy something and go home to the family and villagers who sent it out. Naturally, a souvenir shop was opened in front of the gate of such a shrine, and red goods from Ise, bamboo snakes, and wooden toys were sold at Oyama. This is the beginning of souvenirs.

Futamigaura's amulets are becoming more like goods than ordinary paper.


The word souvenir is written as a souvenir and comes from local products, but the amulet given at the shrine is called a shrine. The word "souvenir" was created by attaching the word "souvenir" to the word "miyabashi". This kind of thing has become a local toy and has been handed down to this day.

At Shiba Shinmei, the main gate of Shiba, there is still a 10-day sloppy festival, and the dust is bestowed on it, with beans inside.

Kanakanbutsu, Tomobiki dolls, Arima doll brushes, etc. are still made and are called local toys.

In the Meiji era, it became civilized and became Western-style. People jumped on new things, and celluloid, metal and rubber toys were imported and eventually made in Japan.

When new things come in and old toys disappear, the number of authors gradually decreases, and when such things disappear, there is a tendency to want to collect them or to miss them.

In the 12th year of the Meiji era, cultural figures gathered to form a stilts party, and the following year, we had a gathering to bring toys with us, nostalgic for our childhood.

One of them was Seifu Shimizu, who was impressed by the old toys he brought with him, took over from other members, and collected about 300 items over 20 years. He was very good at painting. I made a total of 10 woodblock books called "Unai no Tomo" from the collected toys. The first edition printed 100 volumes, and 6 volumes were made by Seifu Shimizu until his death in 1918. It didn't sell very well in Tokyo, so it was bought and resold by Unsodo in Kyoto. The reclining Buddha statue of Shimizu Seifu is still at the shrine of Sugamo, and you can see the monument of Seifu lying surrounded by local toys.

Seifu was called Dr. Toy because he put up his collection at an exposition and created a party for Daiku (opposite of children).

Entering the Taisho era, a toy scholar named Shogoro Tsuboi appears.

At the end of the Taisho era, there was a local toy enthusiast named Ryokko Tanaka, who serialized it under the title that the local toys were talking about, and used the word "local toys" in it. It was used as a print.

From there, circles were formed in various places, bulletins were created, and enthusiasts began to interact with each other. This is before the war.


At the beginning of the war, soldiers bought Chinese local toys and held an exhibition and sale at the Ginza gallery.


Dr. Chutaro Kido of Minerals went to Dalian for the work of Manchuria Railway and was impressed to see the rising of his wife (Myanmyanbyo). It came to Japan and was painted red and became a daruma doll. Chutaro Kido built the Daruma-do and set up a collection, and he was called Dr. Daruma.


In the Showa era, a children's painter named Takeo Takei made a book called "Japanese Folk Toys". The epoch-making thing with photos is the address and name of the author, the impression that Takeo Takei saw, and the types of toys are introduced from north to south.

He is so famous that he is said to have gathered information from post offices around the world. With this, I can now order and visit the makers in each area.

Around 1955, a local toy spot sale was held at the exhibition hall at Shirakiya (now Tokyu) in Nihonbashi.

It will open from January 2nd, and Mr. Nakamura also left Hamamatsu's house around 5am and lined up in front of Shirakiya. All the maniacs lined up, and at the same time as the store opened, they went to the exhibition hall on the 8th floor, put their favorite things in the shopping basket, and then made a choice before paying. Since they are all rivals there, they are silent, and after paying the money, they settle down and eat, and all the people from the region go to Bigoya and finally forgive them, and have a year-long illness. He said he was celebrating and returning. That continued for many years, but Shirakiya became Tokyu, moved from Nihonbashi to Shibuya, and ended up doing it several times. After that, the number of collectors decreased as the number of nuclear families increased, the houses became smaller, and local toys could not be placed.

It is said that the local toys became unsold and the winter era began, which lasted for about 20 years.


And in recent years, it was introduced in the kokeshi book and BRUTUS souvenirs in a modern way, and it caught the hearts of young people, and local toys became a boom like tin toys for a while, and the local toy association was full of young people. I came in. In the winter, there were about 100 people, but now there are about 200 people.

We hold a regular meeting once a month to do it.

"Because it smells like the countryside, it sells in the city"

What could only be done in that region, made from the materials in that area, was commercialized and became a local toy.

However, more strictly speaking, what is listed in "Unai no Tomo" is what is now called a local toy.

I regret to say that things that aren't listed in the "Unai no Tomo" aren't called local toys, even if they are traditionally made in rural areas.


So what will happen to local toys in the future?

When it comes to that, it cannot actually be mass-produced. When mass-produced, the taste of Mingei disappears. If you mass-produce it for sale, you will be turned away. There is such a difficulty.

And in the old days, it was miso to use local ingredients. But now I can't afford to take materials, and most of them come from abroad. Mr. Nakamura says that it is a painful place to go away from Made in Japan.

It's not a pretty job, so the author often doesn't want to let his children take over, and I think it's going to disappear steadily in the future.

To avoid that, you have to buy it. If you buy one, the author will survive for a day.


Mr. Nakamura himself has a signboard shop in Hamamatsu's parents' house, and when he was in his second year of high school, there was an event called a citizen's collection at the Chamber of Commerce. There was a person who was shocked by the culture. In the 30's of the Showa era, when I saw a local toy that seemed to be unsold in Japan when the expeditionary forces brought in various foreign things, what was this! He was so impressed that he thought, "I'll be addicted to this guy for the rest of my life." From the next day, I was absorbed in collecting them. I think this feeling is the same as when Seifu Shimizu brought a local toy at the stilts party. At that time, I was happy to collect only a few, but as I got older, I was wondering why it was good."Because it's something that will definitely disappear, it's beautiful, and it's a perishing beauty, and I think I'm collecting it."Said Mr. Nakamura.

He tells everyone to buy it, but it may be good that it actually disappears. There is no need to force it. It is not permanent even if you force it to make it. Still, it's Japanese culture, so I want you to stay.

Only Japan has such a folk toy and is made with meaning. I think it's okay to take pride in Japan, where so many local toys have been made.

I think that having something like this will enrich your life.

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