"Japanese toys, from Unai no tomo (A Child's Friends) by Shimizu Seifu, 1891-1923. Cats.". Printed material, 6 x 10 in. Brooklyn Museum. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, S01_07.03.009_Japanese_006_PS4.jpg)
Citation: Brooklyn Museum Archives. Culin Archival Collection
Shimizu Seifu (1851-1913) is still considered the definitive source on Japanese toys, and with good reason. He compiled and wrote a ten-volume survey of Japanese folk toys, Unai no tomo (A Child's Friends), and founded two clubs for the appreciation and study of toys. If you'd like to read more about that here's an excellent blog post. All very scholarly, but as you can see in this print of three jolly, chubby toy cats, Shimizu was certainly not blind to their appeal. I can just see him picking one up and squeezing it.