The various Japanese terms for "toy" or "game" such as gangu, omocha, asobi or gêmu give an idea of how diverse their forms are.
Although the first written evidence of the existence of toys dates back to the Heian period (794-1185), cube-shaped crystal objects were found in the Hôryûji temple in Nara, for example, which Prince Shôtoku Taishi (574-622) probably already played with.
While toys were mainly made for the imperial court and the nobility in the Heian period, they became popular with the general public in the Edo period (1600-1868). They were no longer just used to pass the time, but were also sold in temples and shrines as lucky charms.
After the opening up of the country during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and after the end of the Second World War, Japanese toy production came under Western influence. However, even today there are still numerous popular games that have been handed down since the Middle Ages.
The traveling exhibition from the Japanese Cultural Institute presents various aspects of Japanese toys in six sections: traditional items made of natural materials and modern merchandise made of plastic, toys that are mainly used by children or adults, girls or boys, as well as toys with regional characteristics or religious backgrounds.
With the kind support of the Museum of East Asian Art Cologne
Cooperation partner: Hessian Doll and Toy Museum Hanau-Wilhelmsbad e.V.This content has been machine translated.