At age 80, fourth generation Japanese toymaker Masaaki Hiroi still cranks out classic wood toys from his workshop where he has spent a lifetime mastering his craft.

While many might be worried about retirement and slowing down during their eighth decade, Hiroi continues to keep his mind and hands active doing what he loves to do most – handcrafting simple toys in the age of Pokémon Go that continue to make people laugh.

Says Hiroi:

“Cutting-edge technology is fun, but it’s a pity if children become absorbed only in those toys. There are traditional toys and traditional ways to play in Japan, one of them is spinning top. I am sad to see so many old toys become obsolete around the world. I can only wish that children continue to play with both new and old toy. I want to make people who buy my toys to laugh and make toys that anyone, old and young, men and women can enjoy. We are given such little time.”

In this recent profile from AJ+, Hiroi gives us further insight into what it means to age gracefully while staying busy well into your golden years:

YouTube video

Find out more about Hiroi’s Edo Spinning Tops here.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.