This papier-mâché bobblehead tiger, called a hariko no tora, consists of three pieces: the tiger's head, the standing tiger body, and the upraised tail affixed at the rear. The head is weighted in the neck area and hung on a metal wire inside the hollow neck of the body. The tiger's mouth is opened wide to expose gold-colored teeth. Fibrous white sisal whiskers are attached to the sides of the mouth. The entire figure is painted in orange with black stripes, and the paws are white with gold-colored claws painted on the toes; the ears, mouth, and spine are detailed with red paint. A small green and gold triangle of fabric is affixed to the top of the body at the neck opening.
The Japanese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks, each of which contains a group of years. Each block is given a name of an animal based on the ancient Chinese concept that time is based on these 12 units. Those individuals born during a particular year are said to inherit some of the personalities of that year's animal. People born in the Year of the Tiger tend to be sensitive, stubborn, short-tempered, courageous, and at times selfish. They are deep thinkers and are capable of great sympathy for those they are close to and love. Tigers have come to symbolize power, faith, and bravery.