Folk Toys and Games

Name Description Object ID
2006.X.114 Toy Zodiac Rabbit (front) Toy Rabbit

This small papier-mâché rabbit is mounted on a wooden stand, and features a white body decorated with colorful designs and large ears. It would have been one of twelve papier-mâché animals in a collection representing the 12 signs of the zodiac.

The Japanese zodiac is divided into 12...

2009.114.12 a Buyare ushi-oni Buyare Ushi-oni Puppet

This papier-mâché puppet (a) buyare ushi-oni (demon cow) is a miniature version of a parade float-sized buyare used in the Warejinja Shrine festival in Uwajima. The ushi-oni has a red, hollow papier-mache body shaped like half of a pear laid flat. A splatter of gold...

2009.114.12 a-c
2009.114.30 a-c Horse Wooden Horse

This wooden standing horse figurine (a) is unpainted. One side of the body is inscribed with the first seven lines of the famous Kenji Miyazawa poem, "Ame nimo makezu" ("Be Not Defeated by the Rain") in black ink. The ear, nose, eye, and mouth details are also added with black ink. A...

2009.114.30 a-c
2009.199.1 a-g Trading Cards Trading Cards

This set of seven Japanese trading cards features anime characters from the show "Saint Seiya." There are four horizontal and three vertical trading cards, all rectangular; two of the vertical cards are identical. The cards are attached to a rectangular sheet of glossy green cardstock...

2009.199.1 a-g
AB 1101 a Toy Dogs Toy Dogs

This folk art figurine features two dogs. The bodies are made from papier-mâché. The large dog is an inuhariko; it is painted white with black spots and wears a fabric vest that has been glued on. The inuhariko also has a red fabric collar tied around its neck. The other dog...

AB 1101 a
AB 20 s2 Horse Pull Toy Horse Pull Toy

This toy wooden horse is mounted on a four-wheeled black base. The horse is painted white with black spots outlined in blue, and has a blue snout and tan bridle. There are yellow and red paper decorations, each with black patterns. The mane and tail are made of real horse hair.

AB 20 s2
AB 32 a-d Miniature Samurai Animals Miniature Samurai Animals

This set of four miniature anthropomorphized samurai animals was likely meant for display, rather than for play.

(a) is a miniature samurai boar, made of stuffed white cotton covered with a layer of brown that is flaking off. The boar is dressed in a red and gray woven...

AB 32 a-d
AB 57-8 b Shuttlecocks (front) Shuttlecocks

These shuttlecocks are for use with a hagoita to play hanetsuki. They have gray beads with feathers attached to them and resemble flowers: one has pink and white feathers with a yellow center, the other has white feathers with an orange center. 

A shuttlecock (...

AB 57-8 b
AB 659 e Miniature Kimono Miniature Kimono

This miniature kimono is part of a miniature laundry set or drying yard. The kimono is made of a coarse woven fabric with a blue and white design. The seven-piece set originally included a drying rack, wooden bucket, floor stand, tub, and scrubbing board.

AB 659 e
AB 753 Hagoita Battledore (Hagoita)

This small wooden hagoita (battledore) features a painted design on one face; the reverse is unpainted. Unlike most hagoita, this one is flat and does not have three-dimensional fabric sculptural detailing on the front. The painting depicts a bust portrait of a girl, her eyes...

AB 753
AB 76-114 Temari Ball Temari Ball

This traditional ball is filled with small objects to create noise when shaken and is used in the game temari. It is decorated with geometric patterns in red, orange, purple, white, and gold silk thread. Two identical flloral designs are on either side, with a purple stripe down across...

AB 76-114
AB 76-117 Sagara kite (front) Sagara Kite

This painted paper Sagara kite depicts a bust portrait of a mythological warrior. He is wearing yellow and red armor, and his helmet (kabuto) features a dragon at the helm. The fletches of an arrow are visible at the upper left, and an inscription in kanji script is on the...

AB 76-117
AB 76-127 Otedama Otedama

These five otedama, or silk bags filled with rice, are part of a game. There are four red and white beanbags and one yellow. The game is played by tossing the yellow beanbag into the air and picking up the other bags before it lands, in a manner similar to "jacks."

They were...

AB 76-127
AB 76-67 Hanafuda cards Hanafuda Game

This deck of cards, called Hanafuda cards, feature colored designs and are used in a matching/counting game. Each of the cards has a different brightly colored decoration, for example: a small orange deer under a tree with autumn leaves; a large white moon in a red sky over a dark hill...

AB 76-67
AB 77-4 a Battledore (front) Battledore (Hagoita)

This hagoita (battledore or racket) is used to play the game of hanetsuki, which is similar to badminton. The design featured on this battledore is of a woman wearing a red kimono with a gold, white, and blue floral design. The left side of her kimono is gold with an...

AB 77-4 a
AB 77-4 b Battledore (front) Battledore (Hagoita)

This hagoita is used to play the game of hanetsuki during the New Year. On one side of the paddle is a three-dimensional figure of a woman wearing an embroidered kimono in red and gold with metallic embellishments. She wears a red hat and carries a branch of wisteria...

AB 77-4 b
AB 81-96 Poetry Card Game Ogura Hyakunin Isshu Card Game

This Japanese poetry card game, called "Ogura Hyakunin Isshu" ("100 poems by 100 famous poets") features 100 famous tanka poems written in Japanese. The box top has a colorful design of a man and a woman dressed in Heian period (794-1185) clothing. The woman is wearing a red,...

AB 81-96
AB 82-11 Licca-chan and Supermarket Licca-chan Doll & Supermarket

This miniature toy supermarket comes with a Licca-chan doll, her blonde hair tied in a ponytail and dressed in a black maid's dress with apron and lace trim. The market has a yellow floor and yellow checkered walls covered with various advertisements. There is a pink cash register...

AB 82-11
AB 83-10 Miharu-goma (front) Miharu-goma

This Miharu-goma horse toy is carved from a single block of wood. The horse is painted black, with a blue saddle and red and gold regalia. The tail and mane are attached palmetto. It is an example of the mingeihin (folk craft work) made by the inhabitants of Deko...

AB 83-10
AB 84-15 Firefly Cage Firefly Cage

This small firefly cage, or hotaru kago, is made of barley straw twisted into a spiral shape with a hole at the top and a braided handle. In Japan, children traditionally catch fireflies on the riverbanks in June. These types of cages are very traditional in form and used in the...

AB 84-15
AB 85-38 Transformers toy (as robot) Transformers Toy

This toy Transformers robot turns into a tow truck with a white cab, four large wheels, and a towing hook at the front. The truck is red with decals and transforms into a robot by pulling out the sides (doors and rear hubs), opening the hood, and pulling down the rear axle. The white cab is...

AB 85-38
AB 85-45 Take-ushi Take-ushi

This toy bobble-head cow is known as a take-ushi (literally "bamboo cow"), and is painted black.  A long piece of wood is attached to the back of the head; at the other end is the weight. The head is attached to the body by a cord. The cow is decorated with a red and white braided cord...

AB 85-45
AB 85-51 Toy Dragon Dragon Toy

This papier-mâché dragon figurine has wheels. The dragon is painted green with black and gold scale designs down the back of the head and up the tail. Its face has light orange nostrils, a light orange mouth, white eyes outlined in black, and black detailing. There are two gold horns sprouting...

AB 85-51
AB 85-53 Tiger Hariko no Tora Tiger

This papier-mâché bobblehead tiger, called a hariko no tora, consists of three pieces: the tiger's head, the standing tiger body, and the upraised tail affixed at the rear. The head is weighted in the neck area and hung on a metal wire inside the hollow neck of the body. The tiger's...

AB 85-53
AB 86-9 Akabeko (front) Akabeko

This large bobble-head toy cow is an example of an akabeko toy. It has a typical red body and features black, gold, and white highlights. The head is attached to the body with string. The cow carries a bunch of sisal (to represent rice) with a bell at the center as well as two wooden...

AB 86-9
AB 87-15 Inuhariko (front) Inuhariko

This papier-mâché toy dog is called an inuhariko. The dog has a red, drum-like noisemaker toy tied to its back. A paper and sisal noshi is tied to the top of the noisemaker.  The noisemaker features the kanji characters that mean "happiness" on the top drum and the...

AB 87-15
AB 90-3 Red Silk Manekineko (front) Red Silk Manekineko

This manekineko is made of red silk, unlike the traditional ceramic versions. The cat has its left paw raised in a beckoning gesture, believed to bring good fortune to the owner. The glass eyes are yellow with black pupils, and the cat has an embroidered black nose, mouth, and whiskers...

AB 90-3
AB 90-5 Bejeweled Manekineko (front) Manekineko

This manekineko is made of gold-painted plaster with rhinestones that accentuate certain features. There are multicolored rhinestones on both inner ears, green rhinestones on the eyes, pink heart rhinestones on the collar, pink rhinestones on the claws, and a border of white...

AB 90-5
AB 90-7 Manekineko (front) Manekineko

This manekineko has a slit in the back of its head, possibly for a bank. The cat is white with black and orange spots and glitter around its red collar, on which hangs a bell. In its right paw, the manekineko is holding a gold coin with the words "Senman Ryō" (Ten Million Gold...

AB 90-7
AB 91-13 Angel Pocket Angel Pocket

This Angel Pocket toy features two miniature dolls in a compact yellow beauty salon. The toy is made of yellow, violet, white, red, pink, blue, and orange plastic. Both dolls are blonde-haired with brown eyes; the doll wearing a pink outfit has curly hair, while the one in a green outfit has...

AB 91-13
AB 91-2 Inflatable Manekineko (front) Inflatable Manekineko

This inflatable manekineko, or "Beckoning Cat," is made of rubber and plastic. The yellow bottom is rounded and weighted so that the toy rocks back and forth when played with. The cat has a typical manekineko design: red inner ears, black and yellow patches on all four legs...

AB 91-2
AB 91-9 Miniature Manekineko (front) Miniature Manekineko

This miniature manekineko (beckoning cat) is made of white plaster. The cat is painted with red ears and mouth and black spots and eyes. The cat is raising its left paw in a beckoning gesture, and is mounted on a square of red fabric with a white shibori (circle) design, which...

AB 91-9