Although modern toys are immensely popular in Japan, traditional toys still play a significant role in the lives of most Japanese children. Often these toys are folk toys that reflect the customs, history, and legends of Japan (or a particular region of Japan) (source: Sakamoto 16). Traditional toys are particularly popular among both children and adults during the holiday of the Japanese New Year. These toys reflect the spirit and history of Japan throughout the ages.

As is the case in many other countries, handcrafted playthings have amused children for centuries in Japan. Images of common toys such as tops, balls, kites, dolls, and miniature models of various real-life figures and objects illustrate the beautiful skill and artistry of Japanese toy-makers. Many toys can be traced to a religious or supernatural origin, reflecting the beliefs and stories associated with Buddhism and Shintoism (source: Sakamoto 16).

On the next page are a few examples of traditional Japanese toys that many children still play with today. Following these examples are some links which will provide more information about traditional Japanese toys.

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Traditional Toys
Modern Toys

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