When passing through a Japanese run shop, business or restaurant you might have caught a glimpse of a small and oddly egg shaped doll. Mostly red in color and painted with a stern but vivid face on it and quite often depicted with one eye only willfully glaring at you.
They are called Daruma dolls and are not to be feared! These traditional talisman are not there to entice respect of the bespoke establishment or cast away evil spirits but have their roots in ancient Buddhism and are often seen as a symbol of good luck, encouragement and perseverance towards a set goal. This makes them perfect souvenirs and presents for all kinds of occasions that require your tenacity or as the Japanese would say “ganbatte” spirit!
Darumas or Daruma dolls are still made of paper mache, which is what they were originally made of, they often have a egg like rounded shape and are hollow on the inside. A small weight is placed at the bottom of it which, when toppled over will cause it to rise up again to its upright position. This feature symbolizes the ability to overcome and success when faced with sheer overwhelming tasks. Like the Daruma doll, one shall rise back on its feet and master its challenge.
Apart from the odd shape, you might notice that in many cases one eye is missing. When sold, the Darumas actually come with blank eyes. It is up to the recipient of the doll to fill in one dot of the eye by which he focuses on a specific task or goal ahead. It is only through the fulfillment of the task that you may fill in the second eye meaning you are granting the Daruma full sight one the goal is accomplished. It also means that until then, the mindful stare of one eye should keep you on track of your goal.
Once the Daruma has achieved full sight, traditionally he is brought to the temple where he is originally from and then burned in gratitude of the accomplishment.
So go ahead, pick one up at your next trip to the Japan shop around your corner and make it a perfect present for a friend who needs a little pick up!
The 3rd KWUCHAMP: Official Information letter
About our Mascot Daruma
The 3rd KWUCHAMP: All news here…