This miniature ivory netsuke features a man seated cross-legged and holding a battledore (hagoita) in his left hand (he may hold a shuttlecock in his right hand). He wears a kimono with plant and cross-hatched decorations. There are several other objects strewn about him, including two furoshiki-wrapped bundles, one rectangular box, one oval box, and one round box. The man's face is carved with great detail, including wrinkles and stray hairs.
Hagoita are wooden paddles, originating in Japan and used to play hanetsuki, though often serving a more ornamental purpose. Hanetsuki is a traditional Japanese game played in a similar manner to badminton, but without the use of a net. Hanetsuki is popular during the New Year, and there are two variations: one in which a single person attempts to keep the shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible and another in which two people hit the shuttlecock back and forth.