Otagiri (also known as Otagiri Mercantile Co.) was a distributor of porcelain, stoneware, and giftware in the San Francisco area for more than 46 years. Otagiri products were made in Japan by Japanese artisans. The items were handcrafted and handpainted. The company distributed animal-themed kitchen and tableware which is greatly prized by collectors. In addition, the company distributed music boxes to Gibson Greetings, and San Francisco Music Box Company.
The animal tablesets include such items as cookie jars, tea pots, cups, mugs, spoon rests, salt and pepper shakers, trivets, soap dishes, cream and sugar sets, napkin holders, pencil holders, toothbrush holders, and soap dispensers. Cats, geese, frogs, black and white cows, brown cows, roosters/chickens, ducks, pigs, and penguins are just a few of the animals represented in the collections.
Unfortunately, in 1994 Enesco purchased Otagiri and discontinued the line. As time has passed it has become more and more difficult to find items in some of the animal lines. Such a shame! The animals are very life like and in spite of the age, most of the items are still in exceptionally good condition.
One of the favorite collections sought by collectors is the Blue Cat collection. The blue cat is a rich blue and is sprinkled with darker blue flowers with green leaves. The cute kitty wears a pink-orange ribbon around the neck. It is still possible to find the teapot, cookie jar, cream and sugar, salt and pepper, and cups; however, avability varies a lot. The only source is auctions and estate sales.
I have been a collector of Otagiri items for many years and have a wide variety of critters and music boxes. The music boxes are delightful! There are many themes for the music boxes as well as animal themes. Best of all: the melodies still play beautifully.