National Identity and Shaping Children: Design Toys for Kids in 1930s China

Proceedings of The 7th International Conference on Social sciences, Humanities and Education

Year: 2022

DOI:

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National Identity and Shaping Children: Design Toys for Kids in 1930s China

Zhao Qing , Chen Yurui

 

ABSTRACT: 

In the early 20th century, with the toy trade deficit, the idea of the child as the primary focus and the influence of the national product campaign, domestic toy innovation was seen as an important way to counteract imported goods, foster a scientific attitude in children and inspire patriotic consumption. Specifically, toys embody the expectations and imaginations of intellectuals for “new children”, as well as the complex relationship between toys and education, children and consumption, and exemplary citizens and an ideal country. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between “science toys” and “modern toys”, how they are designed to develop children’s knowledge and experiences, and what cultural meanings are included in toys in the context of manufacturer’s strategies and authoritative interpretations by education. This study argues that modern toys are actually a scientific tool to develop “small citizens”, pointing out that the toy-related consumer culture and strategies not only create an imaginary childhood but also build an ideal citizen image expected by society.

keywords: National Identity, Shaping Children, Toys Design, 1930s,China