蛸の当独楽 (tako no ategoma)
octopus roulette-style top
This is a roulette-style top, which is a kind of game. Someone spins the top in the middle, in this case an octopus, and the handle of the top lands on a particular picture. Although the connection between the various images you can land on is not clear, Hiroi-sensei explains that because the octopus hates mice, that is the losing image on the wheel. The best image one can get to win is the Palace of the Dragon King, the mythic palace of the Japanese dragon god who keeps magic jewels that can control the tides.
Hiroi Michiaki: This is an octopus roulette-style top, and it falls over like this. And underneath, [it lands on a picture of] a crab, a mouse; this the Palace of the Dragon King. If you land on the Palace of the Dragon King it’s a big win. The mouse is… I think it must be that the octopus hates mice, so that’s a losing spot. The top is this sort of game.