河童の水汲み (kappa no mizukumi)
kappa drawing water
This top depicts a kappa. Kappa are yōkai (supernatural creatures) from traditional Japanese folklore. Kappa are typically depicted as somewhat humanoid and the size of a child, although sometimes they can appear more like birds or turtles. They are said to live in rivers and ponds, where they cause mischief, occasionally kidnapping or drowning people or animals. Sometimes they are depicted as balancing a bowl or plate of water on their heads, which is a technique they use to travel outside of their watery homes. Even today, some areas of Japan will have signs near rivers warning people about kappa. Kappa may also be considered friendly or helpful, helping humans with water-related tasks like irrigation or fishing. Each part of this figure can be removed and turns into a separate top. This top features kappa drawing water out into gourds.
Hiroi Michiaki: This is… What is this? Kappa drawing water? The kappa are drawing water out into gourds. When you spin this, it totters around like this. They look like they’re playing.