天狗とおかめ (tengu to okame)
tengu and okame
These tops feature a tengu and okame. Tengu are creatures from Japanese folklore that are considered a kind of kami (god/spirit) or yōkai (supernatural being). Although they are thought to take the form of birds, they are frequently depicted with both bird-like and human characteristics. Beginning around the 14th century, tengu began being depicted with a distinctive long nose. Tengu masks often depict the creatures as having bright red faces and extended, phallic noses. Okame is aｌso popular theme for masks in Japan, often seen in traditional kyogen or dengaku performances and festivals. Okame is a plain-faced woman, featured together here with the tengu probably as symbols of reproduction. These tops, featured as a pair, are spun together as a kind of amusing game. Even though they are shown as a couple, when they are spun the tengu’s nose often points away from the okame, and it looks as if they are not together.
Hiro Michiaki: This is–
Paula Curtis: This is a tengu, right?
Hiroi: Yeah, this is a tengu and okame. You line them up and when you spin them, they don’t exchange glances. They face the other way. Heh heh heh.
Janell Landis: Kids like that.