Masaaki Hiroi’s creativity keeps spinning
Masaaki Hiroi’s extraordinary passion for making original Japanese Edo Spinning Tops started when he was in his 30s and has created over 4,000 different types of Edo Tops to date.
So what exactly is Edo Spinning Tops and what’s so unique about it?
Spinning Tops that flourished during Edo Period (1603 – 1867) in Japan are commonly called Edo Spinning Tops. They don’t just spin, but each top has a distinctive mechanism that gives a unique movement to the top, simple analog mechanism, but some motions are in a sense robotic and full of humor.
This traditional mechanism caught Hiroi’s attention, and although Hiroi Family had been producing traditional Japanese Spinning Tops for four generations, he couldn’t resist to create his original Edo Tops mechanism to match the modern day. His ideas for new tops are all in his mind and in his hands and does not draw any blueprints.
Although his original creations were based on tradition, they weren’t accepted in Japan. But he continued his endeavor and in 1980, he was invited to Paris to exhibit his works and was highly appraised — he was convinced then that to keep the tradition, one needs to keep creating the new tradition from the old. Finally, Japanese caught up with his originality, uniqueness, and his belief. Since 1983, he started to be invited to the U.S. and other countries, counting about 50 countries, to have exhibitions and workshops. Today, he is the highly recognized master craftsman of Edo Tops in Japan and his quest for creativity still continues.
Watch Japanese Edo Spinning Top by Masaaki Hiroi in action. Guess which will win, tortoise or a hare?
Hiroi is also known for his skill in producing traditional super spinner (kyoku-goma) tops which are used by traditional spinning top jugglers for their professional performances. A very simple top but which needs highly trained craftsman to create the best balance and spinning movement. You may want to give it a spin, but it isn’t easy! This top is for those who seek to reach the pinnacle in spinning tops! Once you master the high level of skill, you’ll be able to get this beauty to move along a taut string, spinning all the while.
Masaaki Hiroi’s works are sold at JapanUniqueGifts.com
Notice (updated July 10, 2016): Due to his health conditions, we regret to inform you that we can not take orders at this time. We can not forecast his returning dates, but if you could sign up and subscribe to our e-mail newsletter, we will be glad to update you: sign up at JapanUniqueGifts.
Thank you for your understanding.