A lot of unusual toys come out of Japan, and this range of Japanese musical automata is no exception!
The toys are made by the Maywa Denki company, and these toy figures embody a number of Japanese characteristics. These include the humour of KARAKURI (traditional Japanese mechanical toys), cuteness from HANIWA (ancient clay figures) and also KOKESHI, which are a range of Japanese dolls.
These Japanese toys were bought in 2004 in a small shop in central London that specialises in unusual Japanese products.
Finally, as a contrast, we have a toy automaton from the West - the Mechanical Piggy Chef! This is made by Rocket USA, a company that has been making toys and other fun things since 1997.
The Piggy Chef is a wind up toy, and once you start him going, he spices and flips the food for you. What is on the menu? It looks like steak and eggs. It is impressive that the food really is flipped and caught - there is no string!