つるかめと女男茶わん(tsurukame to meoto chawan)
“crane and turtle his and hers teacups”
This set of tops is “his and hers” teacups, meant as a good omen for spousal relations. The design features flowers and butterflies on the outside and images of cranes and turtles on the inside, both symbols of longevity. Small tops are hidden inside the cups. In one cup, there is a pair of tops representing okame and hyottoko, male and female characters of Japanese lore. Their plain features are meant to reflect good luck for everyday people in spousal relations.
**okame and hyottoko are popular themes for masks in Japan, often seen in traditional kyogen or dengaku performances and festivals. Okame is an plain-faced woman, and hyottoko an ordinary man, often featured with his lips puckered to the side and eyes different sizes.
Hiroi Michiaki: This one is…
Mrs. Hiroi: There are tops hidden in the teacups.
Hiroi: This, um…
Mrs. Hiroi: It’s a good relationship.
Hiroi: They’re “his and hers” teacups, and cranes and turtles, is it? The lid here becomes a top, and here the cranes and turtles, which are good omens in Japan for, err, what is it- symbols of longevity? A crane is a thousand years, and a turtle ten thousand. They’re an auspicious combination for longevity. And here is… this is probably okame and hyottoko.** (see above)
Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.
Hiroi: Yeah, it’s okame and hyottoko.
Mrs. Hiroi: Hyottoko goes in one of the cups.
Hiroi: Mmm. It’s here [in the picture] but you can’t see the face, so. It’s okame and hyottoko. This is for good spousal relations so it’s okame and hyottoko. They’re not necessarily very handsome-looking.