Vintage Interactive Toy Train (Shochan)

Rare Vintage Japanese Pull Wooden Train Engine, (Shochan Car) Toy with Yajirou Engineer | Kijigangu | Tsuta Fumio

Realized Value: $135.00

Age:1970

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 6-1/2”h x 3-1/2”w x 6–1/4”l 

Maybe it's because wooden toys harken back to the days before mass-produced plastic, and is a direct connection between forest surrounding the Japanese countryside and the local culture. This wonderful Kijigangu, (wooden toy), represents a Shochan Car or Train Engine, with a Yajirou Child Engineer, whose head moves back and forth while the wheels turn as the piece is pulled across the floor. The character became famous during the Taisho period in which the Shochan boy is represented with a gentle and cute face painted in the standard colors for this period.

This toy was made in the earlier years of the Tsutaya family of toy makers, who achieved numerous awards for their wood toys and was the most recognized in this specialization.

Vintage condition: Very good, with minimal surface wear on the back of the figure from aging for a fifty year old pull toy. “As is”, and retains the original craft & workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage is noted. 

NOTE: Tsuta Family—Grandfather Sakuzuo (1892-1957), Father Mamoru (1928-2009), and son Fumio (1944-), handed down toy making from generation to generation and have been producing for over 100 years. Son, Fumio, continues to produce and sell their creations at the Onogawa Onsen, Yamagata Prefecture, since the beginning of this family enterprise.

Japanese toy makers changed the stagnant fixed toy with their amazing interactive and mechanical toys representing three-dimensional images of animals and children playing. The majority of the toys are pull and action figures.


Yajirou-Kei (Family)

Prefecture: Miyagi

Origin:

Yajirou dolls are some of the most brightly painted of the traditional family set. Utilizing a veritable rainbow of colours, from the usual red and black, to green, yellow, and even blue and purple, they are available in probably the widest range of shapes. The creators of these dolls hail from the small farming village of Yajirou near Kamasaki Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture.

Collector's note – characteristics/painting style:

The majority of this style has distinct waists and wider bases, making them very stable. The upper body usually has a hand-painted collar with horizontal stripes encircling the body, as in the Rokoru moyo style, and vertical stripes running below the waist to the base of the doll. However, Yajirou dolls can also be found with a series of chrysanthemum petals running down the front of the body, or a branch of plum blossoms as the only decoration. Some, though, have a painted beret-like feature or a bun on their heads, similarly painted with a red center spot. Less common are Yajirou have conical hats known as Suge-Gasa. Typically seen is one lid or double eye lids, cat or pick shaped nose.

Notable artists:

Satou Denki, b. 1909
Satou Dennai, Master
Ishikawa Tokujiro, b. 1915
Niiyama Fukutaro, Master
Sato Tatsuro, b. 1928
Sato Imasaburo, Master
Hamatsu Heizaburo, b. 1933
Niiyama Sanai, MasterYajirou
Niiyama Yoshinori, b. 1960
Niiyama Yoshitaro, Grand Master