It brings good fortune. Tracing the roots of Daruma Dolls

This time, we will introduce Daruma dolls.
Daruma dolls were already being made in the Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan and have been beloved by people as a lucky charm. Up to now, the colors, materials and designs of Daruma dolls have undergone a wide variety of changes. Our shop sells Daruma figures of various designs which have been very popular.
Some customers purchase them because they like the Daruma's round shape and lovely face. Other customers purchase them as talismans for granting wishes, or preventing disease.

The Origin of Daruma Dolls

It is said that the Druma dolls' basic shape is based on an ‘Okiagari koboshi’ which is a toy that came from China during the Muromachi period (1336-1573).
The Okiagari koboshi  is a doll which is made of paper maché and has a weighted  round bottom.
No matter how many times you knock it down,  it always comes back to an upright position. And its appearance was different from the current Daruma dolls.


It is presumed that the modern day appearance of a Daruma doll with a rugged face , thick eyebrows and a beard stems from the Edo period.
A doll maker had painted an Okiagari Koboshi to look like Daruma Daishi, who was the creator of the Zen sect. Daruma Daishi was an Indian monk and he went to China to spread the teaching of Buddhism.
He practiced Buddhist austerity and dressed in a red robe, so many Daruma figures have a red color. It is said that Daruma Daishi practiced a meditation technique called Heki Kan which is wall-gazing. Legend claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs and arms to fall off from atrophy. And many Daruma dolls are usually painted with their lips tightly  closed and staring at someone, but they are not angry. The stern expression painted on the dolls is meant to reflect Daruma Daishi's austere practices in his pursuit for enlightenment.

The spirit of Nanakorobi Yaoki

Daruma Daishi’s teachings eventually spread to Japan and become widely practiced  by the Samurai. And finally the image of Daruma Daishi was painted on the Okiagari Koboshi.
Okiagari Koboshi will always come back to an upright position if you try to knock it down with your finger. Daruma Daishi is associated with the spirit of nanakorobi yaoki, which is based on the Japanese proverb of 7 times fall, 8 times get back up. It is easy to see how Daruma Daishi became linked with  the Okiagari Koboshi toy, and the Druma doll was born.

Draw the left eye on a Daruma Doll and Make your Wish

A well-known use of Druma dolls in Japan is the custom of drawing the left eye and making a wish or setting a goal. Draw the left eye of the daruma figures with black ink while chanting the wish in your heart. And after the dream comes true, draw the right eye, too.
In Japan, such customs are a common way to pray for success on an exam or for victory in an election. However, this kind of custom had not existed before the painted Daruma dolls appeared.
It is said that as Daruma dolls began to become popular in the Edo period, a customer complained, "I don’t like this doll's eyes", to a doll maker. The doll maker said "If you think so, you can draw the eyes yourself", and sold the Daruma dolls with no eyes from that time.
And so by accomodating a customer’s request, the custom of  Daruma dolls being sold with just white eyes spread all over Edo (modern day Tokyo) in the late Edo period (1800).
At present, you can find Daruma dolls sold with and without eyes. 
And they also vary in size from small to large. It is believed that buying a larger one than the previous year will bring good fortune. This custom is similar to the Maneki-Neko, which we have discussed in a post before. The Daruma doll is perfect for people who want their dreams to come true or who want to have the Nanakorobi Yaoki spirit and achieve their goals. Why not decorate Daruma figures on office desk or in your living room?

Daruma figure M size

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This is made of paper maché. It is a Daruma doll of traditional design that is well known in Japan. The height is 11.5cm. It is a good size to display on your office desk or next to the cash register in your shop. Draw the left eye on the Daruma and make a wish!

Daruma Mountain 

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These Daruma dolls are made of ceramic. The stacked up Daruma dolls are a unique and cute design. The height is 12cm. It is charming and if you display it, you will make a happy atmosphere. This product is recommended for those who wish to achieve their goals, pray for promotions, or pass an exam.


Next time, we will introduce the meaning of the Daruma doll's color.

There are a variety of colors of Daruma dolls besides the familiar red color. We will introduce the meanings of the different colors. Our shop sells a variety of Daruma goods besides the products introduced this time. We will introduce these goods in our next article. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog.

👇Please check out next article at the link below.  
In recent years, colorful Daruma dolls have appeared one after another. What is the meaning of each color?

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