From the Vault - featured items from our collection

Toy Boat

Toy Boat

This collections item is a small toy boat made in Occupied Japan. After World War Two ended, American General Douglas MacArthur was put in charge of the Allies leadership in Occupied Japan; one goal of the Allies was to attempt to revive the Japanese economy. To identify products made in Japan all factories were required to stamp “Made in occupied Japan” or “Occupied Japan” on at least some of their products. Japan produced a wide range of products during this time, including porcelain dishes, figurines, and toys. The toys that were produced were often sold very cheaply, for 50¢ or less. For example, our toy boat has 30¢ written on the bottom. However, they were often of good quality. Today, items marked “Made in Occupied Japan” have become big collectors’ items, likely because they are plentiful and also easily identifiable.

While it is possible that this boat is supposed to represent a specific type of ship, it is difficult to say with certainty. It is quite small – less than seven centimeters long. It has a small red rudder at the back of the ship with a red, white and gray flag.  A similar, shorter flagpole is glued to the back block.  A wooden sail and yard arm is glued to the taller flagpole. There appears to be a small cannon glued to the front, and a gold cross painted on the sail. Perhaps it is a Spanish Galleon, off to sail the high seas.

The collection item pictured here is preserved as part of the original Sam Waller Collection.

Added: November, 2015

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