Japanese Folk-Toys

Japanese Folk-Toys

Japanese Folk-Toys

Japanese Folk-Toys

Excerpt

"A nation without toys is doomed to ruin," says an adage. Although the lack of toys cannot conceivably be a sufficient reason in itself for any nation's decline and fall, yet there would seem to be much truth in this saying. The fact that a nation has possessed through her history a rich variety of toys indicates that the people of that nation possess a strong racial consciousness. For, historical toys are almost always folk-toys. Each locality has its peculiar way of life, its own tradition, modes and manners, legends and products. Whatever is made out of this sort of material must perforce contain a wealth of local colour. The accumulation of local consciousness within a race leads naturally to racial consciousness, which in turn eventually takes shape as a strong sense of nationalism.

In the second place, a people with a wide variety of historical toys may be regarded as having fairly abundant economic resources. For toys are not necessaries of life, after all. Only in conditions with a wide economic margin is it possible for toys to be demanded and produced. In the next place, the same fact proves that the people as a race are showing no signs of deterioration but are in possession of youthfulness and vigour. For toys in the last analysis are the objects of childish fancy. A race grown old has long lost its child mind, and is not satisfied with the simple stimulus of folk-toys and the like, seeking a more complex type of excitement. Fourthly, the likeli-

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