iTopSpin

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

ITSA General Assembly: December 5th - 12th

Author Topic: Book review: Edo Tops by M. and M. Hiroi, 1993  (Read 72 times)

Jeremy McCreary

  • ITSA
  • Immortal Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1520
    • MOCpages
Book review: Edo Tops by M. and M. Hiroi, 1993
« on: June 12, 2019, 02:45:20 PM »

My copy from Japan finally arrived!


Photo originally posted by ta0 in this recent Edo koma thread.

English title: Edo Tops
Authors: Michiyaki Hiroi and Masaaki Hiroi (modern master of Edo top-making)
Copyright: 1993
Binding: Paperback with stiff, glossy cover slip
Source: Amazon
Condition: Used but excellent
Price: $49.28 shipped

Beautiful book! Surprised to find that it opens from the left, but it's thoroughly Japanese, so how else? Text is mostly in Japanese with some tantalizing English here and there.

Really wish I could read every word -- especially the sections on general top design and engineering, Edo top types and starting methods, Edo top-making (including how the onboard mechanisms work), and Edo top play (including the throwing of chonkakegoma-like tops). No luck resolving the age-old question, is "Edo koma" or "Edo goma", or "Edogoma" the best English term?

But the lavish illustrations more than make up for all that. Pages 10-96 are gorgeous full-page color photos of Edo tops and other spintoys with perfect angles and lighting. These show a much wider variety of Edo spintoys than I've seen anywhere else and are worth the price alone. The other color plate section (pp. 137-144) shows Japanese and Western paintings and drawings of tops in play.

And there are many, many B&W photos and drawings everywhere else. Of these, especially enjoyed (i) the line drawing chart of Edo hand and assisted top play with Japanese and English captions on pp. 196-197, and (ii) the many diagrams of top physics and engineering and Edo top play instructions after p. 167.

As for the Edo tops themselves, these words come to mind in no particular order: Whimsical, colorful, playful, delightful, elegant, masterful, diverse, ingenious, artistic, and cute. I consider the spinning top a fascinating toy, a physics laboratory, and a kinetic art form, and you'll find all of these personas highly developed in Edo tops. You really have to see all of them to get the full impact.

Visions of LEGO knock-offs are already swirling in my head. And now I have the info to pull some of them off -- at least in schematic form.

Bottom line: Highly recommended for any top fancier, even if you can't read Japanese.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:31:48 PM by Jeremy McCreary »
Logged
Playing with the physical world through LEGO

Diz

  • Gold Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
Re: Book review: Edo Tops by M. and M. Hiroi, 1993
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2019, 04:42:55 PM »

That looks like a great book Jeremy! I have had some limited success translating my old Japanese comic books using a translator app like the one by Google. Have you tried using that?
Logged

Jeremy McCreary

  • ITSA
  • Immortal Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1520
    • MOCpages
Re: Book review: Edo Tops by M. and M. Hiroi, 1993
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2019, 07:44:43 PM »

That looks like a great book Jeremy! I have had some limited success translating my old Japanese comic books using a translator app like the one by Google. Have you tried using that?

Of course, why didn't I think of that?? Forgot all about our trip to Spain last summer. Son taught me to use Google Translate's camera mode to view menus and signs as if they'd been in English all along. Pure magic! Used it all day every day. And it ever occurred to me to try it on this book. Sheesh!
Logged