In Japanese, Tanuki means raccoon and koma means tops. These Tanuki Koma raccoon tops come apart in four different pieces.
His head, hat, body, and the base where each part becomes a top!
Each wooden top is handcrafted by Mahiko Iseri in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan. Each top is hand painted and have unique characteristics.
- Approximate measurements: 2" W x 3 1/2" H
- Material: wood
- Care instruction: to clean, gently wipe the surface with a dry cloth.
- Do not hand wash or get wet.
When I was a child I used to play with these tops in my grandparents’ room. Raccoons are always a funny animal in Japanese folktales, so I thought this raccoon toy was so funny and loved disassembling it to spin as a top.
Mahiko’s father, Tsutomu Iseri had made the wooden raccoon toys after World War II back in 1947. Tsutomu started his business as a wooden baseball bat manufacturer. During the war none of the kids could play outside and had to give up any materials which could be used as weapons, so no one was able to own a real baseball bat until the end of the war. After the war, Tsutomu saw kids playing baseball with wood branches and wanted to make real baseball bats for them. While spinning and carving woods to make the baseball bats he started wanting to make something more fun and creative for the kids. After years of making baseball bats, that's when he invented the raccoon tops.
Mahiko, the son of Tsutomu, wanted to work outside of his hometown Kumamoto and worked as a car salesman near Tokyo for years. In 1977, when he turned to 30s, he realized how valuable his family business was and returned to his hometown to take over his family owned business. Since then he continues to handcraft the raccoon tops.