The Daruma doll is one of the best known lucky charms from Japan.
Usually made of papier-mâché, the Daruma doll is a round doll, a type known in English as “tumbler doll” and in Japanese okiagari, meaning to get up (oki) and rise (agari). Actually, Daruma dolls (or Dharma dolls) are stylized representations of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, and the lack of hands and legs symbolize the atrophy suffered by Bodhidharma during 9 years of meditation.
On a traditional Daruma doll, the eyebrows are shaped like cranes and the facial hair is drawn in the shape of a turtle, symbolizing longevity. They are sold with undrawn eyes and the tradition is to first draw one eye when making a wish, then to draw the second eye after the wish was fulfilled…
Besides the traditional Daruma doll, feminine dolls appeared during the Edo period, called Hime Daruma (Princess Daruma) or Onna Daruma (Lady Daruma), satirical representations making allusion to prostitutes - you know, because of the okiagari idea - but they were still considered lucky charms!
Today, the step to Hello Kitty Daruma dolls seems only logical, right? So here’s a set of Hello Kitty Daruma Dolls photographed on Nakamise-dori in Asakusa:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: