BlogTV Japan: Tops

Disinfotainment is back again with another video from Japan. This little piece of fluff was produced by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is a short film (3min 25sec) in English, about traditional Japanese toy tops.

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I love traditional Japanese crafts, and I love toy tops, so I love this little film. It’s produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so of course it is a piece of propaganda about how Japan is exporting happiness in the form of one of their oldest traditional crafts. But if you can get past the first half of the piece, and don’t choke on the cloying tone of the narrator (who seems to be addressing 2 year old kids) you will see some lovely, innovative designs for tops.

I had a chance to play with a Japanese top on my last trip to Japan. A friend took me to a theme park in Nikko called “EdoLand,” where a woman in a kimono was demonstrating wooden tops of the style that was popular 150 years ago. I asked her to show me how to spin the top, it was was an unfamiliar shape and as big as my fist. She showed me how to wrap the thick rope around the top, and how to toss the top and make it spin. So I gave it a whirl, I tossed the top at the circular wooden platform, it bounced right off and hit the poor woman right in the stomach! I decided I better leave the tops to the little kids.

© Copyright 2016 Charles Eicher