nodding tiger

首振りトラ

15 December 1962, Japan
New Year Greeting, Tiger toy from Shimane

I received a comment on the previous feature – the animal does not look like a tiger. Well, it may not be, but what is it – it has a striped tail, though? This one from Japan, has a wider mouth but is not scary as this was a papier-mâché toy.

No tiger existed in the wild in Japan, but many tiger toys were made there to celebrate the zodiac year. And they nearly always had a head-nodding mechanism. A collection of 6 used stamps below, with those toys, I received on new years cards – now listed on eBay. Toys were made in Shimane, Osaka, Fukushima, Hakata, Fukui and Shizuoka – from everywhere in Japan.

ひとつ前のマヨットの切手はトラじゃないでしょ、というコメントが来ましたが、、では何という動物?確かに口が小さくて顔が可愛いすぎるけど、尻尾はシマシマだよ。この日本のは、口は大きく開いているけれど、やっぱり獰猛さが足りない。野生のトラが居なかった日本に、それでも各地に玩具が残っているのは、干支の存在が大きいのでしょうね。

この切手のような、首が振れる張り子の寅って、どれくらいの種類が作られたのでしょうか。ちなみに、図柄となって手元に届いた切手だけでも6種類ありました(eBayでリスト中)。産地は島根(1962)、大阪(1986)、三春と博多(1998)、加賀と静岡(2010)と多彩です。

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