A Short History of Kobe Toys

 In Tin Toys

By Ron Rosen

KOBE TOYS, ALSO KNOWN as Kobe dolls, are hand-carved, wooden mechanical dolls (automata) made exclusively in Japan. The origin of these toys began with the opening of the Kobe Port in Hyogo, Japan, in 1868.

Kobe toys were made strictly as tourist items and were never exported or sold in the domestic marketplace. They were created by local artisans as expensive souvenirs to be sold to foreigners arriving aboard luxury ships at the Port of Kobe.


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