HIMEJI, Hyogo Prefecture--A tin saber, a small helmet, a motorcycle with a soldier in a sidecar that generates machine-gun sounds.

These are just some of the wartime toys on display at a museum here, made with the aim of indoctrinating children.

"Taiheiyo Senso to Omocha" (The Pacific War and toys), an exhibition at the Japan Toy Museum in the Koderacho-Nakanino district, shows how warfare affected children's amusement.

The special exhibition will continue through Oct. 14.

A total of 70 items produced between the 1920s and 1940s are on display, including a replica of the 1939 issue of the children's magazine "Kinder Book," featuring pictures of kids playing house or acting as if they were soldiers.

Among showpieces dating to between 1935 and 1944 are "karuta" game cards showing rushing military personnel and other illustrations, a savings box designed in the image of a "patriot's mail vehicle" and a fighter-based toy to shoot at the target.

According to the museum, although tin was the main component of toys in the early Showa Era (1926-1989), metal started to be used for weaponry around 1935, resulting in an increasing number of toys made from wood and other natural resources.

For instance, among the items are a wooden toy tank and a wire puzzle made of bamboo.

The non-metal toys have red stickers of the then-censorship organization, indicating how tightly the imperial government checked toys at the time.

Shigeyoshi Inoue, 80, director of the museum, referred to a toy tin helmet, saber and bugle apparently made around 1935 as “a set of three toys for make-believe soldier play.”

“They should have been required to be provided to the military but they were seemingly secretly kept by their owners,” Inoue said.

Yuri Harada, 30, a curator at the museum, explained its first special exhibition themed on the connection between toys and war.

“It is terrible that the toys were exploited to stimulate children’s pure minds into supporting the war,” said Harada.

A toy motorcycle features a sidecar with a soldier who can fire a machine gun. If the wheel of the toy is rotated, the soldier and gun move and shooting sounds are generated.

“What did the toy maker, whose designs are supposed to entertain children, feel when creating such a toy?” Harada said. "Many craftsmen must have felt pity.”

The museum is closed on Wednesdays. Admission is 600 yen ($5.65) for adults, 400 yen for senior high school and college students and 200 yen for those over 4 and younger than senior high school age.