These days, it’s rare to find artisans who have not only mastered their craft through generations, but also truly love what they do. At 80 years old, Masaaki Hiroi is one of those gems — a fourth-generation wooden toymaker notable for his Japanese Edo spinning tops.
He wishes he could live 200 years so he “can work hard and do a better job”.
“I want to make people who buy my toys laugh,” says Hiroi, who learned his trade from his father. In the AJ+ video above, we see him skillfully handcrafting wooden toys in his workshop, which he designs to be enjoyed by both young and old people.
His pieces involve everything from simple spinning tops to intricate kinetic pieces depicting dolls eating noodles or putting on a mask.