The Delightful Toys of an 80-Year-Old Japanese Craftsman

Bess Lovejoy

Sure, augmented reality games played on your smartphone are fun, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity and whimsy of old-school wooden toys. AJ+ recently profiled octogenarian toymaker Masaaki Hiroi, a fourth-generation craftsman from Japan who makes spinning tops and other wooden toys with a sweetly humorous bent.

Hiroi specializes in Edo Spinning Tops, and he’s created almost 4000 since he began working on them in his 30s. According to the Japanese arts and culture site YAQMO, the tops are so named because they were particularly popular during Japan’s Edo Period (1603–1867). They’re known for doing more than just spinning—most add some kind of humorous flourish.

The Kid Should See This recently spotlighted the video, in which Hiroi talks a little about his process and expresses his wish to live to 200. Laughing Squid also shared several other videos of the toys, produced by YAQMO:

Due to his health, Hiroi is no longer taking orders, but you can also see more of his toys here.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Header image via Al Jazeera.