Artisan | Interactive Toymaker: Hiroi, Masaaki | 1935 - 2019
Masaaki-san is a fourth-generation suburban Tokyo resident, and maker of hand-crafted children’s toys, which he creates with traditional Edo and wind-up techniques, (1603-1867). He studied under Master Hiori Kenjiro. Admired throughout Japan and around the world, his creations have been exhibited and acquired for the permanent collection of the Louvre. Hiroi died in 2019 and has been named an honorary citizen of Seattle, Washington.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
The majority of his toys are action figures. Many are inspired by everyday citizens and folk stories. All are brightly painted and fashioned from wood. His is famous for his spinning tops of all sizes; all beautifully functioning as conceived.
“Cutting-edge technology is fun, but it’s a pity if children become absorbed only in those toys. There are traditional toys and traditional ways to play in Japan. One of them is the spinning top, (Koma). I am sad to see so many old toys become obsolete around the world. I want to make people who buy my toys laugh, and make toys that anyone, old and young, men and women can enjoy”. MH