Daruma Doll A Japanese Gift For Luck And Encouragement

The Daruma Doll is a customary Japanese doll used in rituals and beliefs. They are commonly red but can also be painted any color or left unpainted. When the dolls are finished, they have one eye drawn on their face with an ink brush.

In Japan, it’s customary to make a wish before you start drawing the pupil of the second eye because once the eyes are complete, it is believed that your wish will come true.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of Daruma dolls and how they became a symbol of good luck in Japan.

When you receive a Daruma doll, it’s said if you write down your wishes on the back of the paper attached to its body and then color in one eye that represents “hope” or “promise.”

Once this is done, keep working hard at making your wish come true, and when you’ve accomplished it, color in the other eye which then represents “joy.”

The history of Daruma dolls dates back to a Japanese monk named Bodhidharma, who is said to have brought Buddhism from India into China. When he was meditating for nine years, facing a wall inside the Shaolin temple, he became so frustrated with his body’s weakness that he cut off his eyelids.

When the day finally arrived when Bodhidharma died, it is said that birds dropped these eyelids onto a nearby bush which then turned into another plant altogether known as “dō-daiko” or Daruma in Japanese.

The Legend Behind the Daruma Doll

The legend behind this seemingly simple figure is actually quite interesting. While their design has changed slightly over time, the original was actually a monk.

This doll initially looked like an actual person, and it had no face at all–it was just made to look like a monk. The eyes were painted on at the end to complete the look!

The Daruma Doll is a popular Japanese item that has become increasingly popular in the west. The original purpose of the doll was to serve as an aid for individuals hoping to achieve goals or make wishes come true.

“Daruma-san, please grant my wish!” This is what many individuals say when they buy their very own Daruma Doll. The Japanese word “Daruma” refers to the first patriarch of Zen Buddhist tradition and is a round, hollow doll with no arms or legs that one can color in and use as an aid to achieving their goals.

Features of the Daruma Doll

Daruma Dolls are a great way to focus your mind on a goal. You can make a wish and then paint it in one of the two blank eyes before working towards it. When you reach your goal, you finish painting in the last eye. If you fail, at least the doll will be half done.

The main features of Daruma dolls include:

They are round, hollow, and weighted on the bottom.

They have a face with two large blank eyes that can be painted when you set your goal for success.

You will only paint one of the two eyes unless you succeed at reaching your goal first. So if both sides appear to be done after achieving the initial plan, you haven’t got your ultimate goal yet.

Daruma dolls are typically red and often weighted on the bottom with a small bead inside to help them stand upright.

Daruma Design and Symbols

The daruma doll is traditionally red, painted using a unique technique called Nuri-e. With an eggshell lacquered finish and transparent color coating of its skin, it looks simple yet attractive. It has only one eye, which the owner will paint after finishing the task, and the second one after reaching their next accomplishment.

Daruma dolls come in different sizes, but most of them are small enough to sit on your palm or be put on a tabletop. Although this is usually what you can get from shops online, it might take some time for its owner to finish painting all those eyes as it is believed that the doll should have five of them.

To be more creative, paint your own daruma dolls and decorate them as you prefer.

Different Darumas with their Meaning

In Japan, Daruma is a popular character with red-and-white color for good luck. It resembles an Indian monk with one eye, and it has been used as people’s wish to spread Buddhism in Japan since the sixth century.

Darumas are also available with different colors that have specific meanings

Green Daruma For Beauty
Red Daruma Overall Luck
Black Daruma Secret wish or Desire
Gold Daruma Wealth
Pink Daruma Love or Romance
Yellow DarumaProtection
White Daruma Harmony in Life
Purple DarumaHealth or Long Life

One of the most popular types is “Sarukun,” known as Red Darumas in a bag. It has been sold in Japan for more than 70 years and is still popular today thanks to its good luck from the number seven, which sounds similar when pronounced as “shichi” in Japanese.

In addition, there are different types of Daruma dolls depending on regions, such as Tohoku region-style Darumas for safety, Hokuriku region-style Darumas with the meaning of good business, etc.

The most popular type is called “Aka Oni” which has red hair and its face becomes white if you complete your goal. It’s said that there are many paths to achieve goals in life, so it can be helpful for people who are still struggling to find what they want.

How Daruma Doll has changed Overtime

Daruma Dolls are a type of Japanese wish doll. The dolls originated in the 18th century, and since then, they have come to symbolize good luck and fortune. Initially, they were created with blank eyes because you believed that you would fill them in when your wishes came true.

However, as time went on and more societies began using these dolls for different purposes, their designs changed to accommodate the community’s changing needs. Today we will talk about how this product has evolved over time!

The original Daruma Dolls were seated with an open mouth. This was because it was believed that whenever your wish came true, you would shout a big “Banzai” in celebration! In fact, this is also why the dolls have red faces – to reflect their shouting voice when they are filled with wishes.

In addition to the red face, the Daruma Doll also has a tiny black mustache modeled after Bodhidarma (the man who inspired the doll). He had facial hair because it was believed that if you shaved your head and grew out your beard before meditation, then enlightenment would come faster.

To allow people to create their own luck, the Daruma Dolls were given blank white eyes that would be filled in as your wish was granted. According to legend, you could only fill them halfway because if you completed it too soon, some of your fortunes might disappear!

Another feature is how these dolls sit on a round base and stand up with no hands. This is because it was believed that you could not ask for help from others and must rely on your own strength!

The design of these dolls has changed over time along with society’s values. For example, in Japan during World War II, people would write wishes to make their country strong or say prayers to protect their land from being invaded.

In the present Time, Daruma Dolls have a more cartoonish design and are not associated with Bodhidarma or any other specific person. In addition to this, they also don’t sit on round bases but relatively flat ones that allow them to stand up straight.

All About Daruma Festivals

Daruma is a traditional Japanese festival celebrated on the first Sunday of January. It’s often called “Daruma-san” or “Doll Festival.” The word Daruma can refer to a couple of different things: If you’re talking about the doll, it means around, red beauty with no limbs and two black dots for eyes given as a New Year’s gift in some parts of Japan.

If you’re talking about the festival, then it refers to any celebration on this day. In both cases, though, they are related to good fortune and prosperity for the new year ahead.

The Daruma Festival (Dōngzhìjí) is a Japanese Buddhist celebration annually on the 3rd, 7th, and 15th day of the first month according to the traditional Lunar calendar. The festival originated from a legend about Bodhidharma, an Indian monk during the 5th century and ascribed as one of the founders of Zen Buddhism.

Daruma Festival In Gunma Prefecture

The story goes that he arrived at Emperor Wu’s court in China in 527 AD to teach him how to meditate. However, when he saw that Wu had not begun studying Taoist texts such as “Tao Te Ching,” “Zhuangzi,” and so forth, Bodhidharma refused to instruct him.

In the end, Bodhidharma left China traveling to Japan. He reportedly underwent great hardship there and became a skinny figure with bandaged eyes from this hard work and meditation.

After several years in Japan, he returned to the Shaolin Monastery, where Wu was still studying Taoism. The Emperor tried to deny him entry, but Bodhidharma forced his way inside. Wu, who was already an old man by this time, asked the Indian monk to teach him how to meditate.

However, when Bodhidharma refused for a second time, saying that Wu had not studied Taoist texts such as “Tao Te Ching,” and so forth, Wu lost his temper and said to Bodhidharma, “I have dedicated myself for many years to learn all that I can. If there is any truth in Taoism, then you should not be able to ignore it.”

Bodhidharma was silent at first, but finally, he told the Emperor, “No matter how much you study, you will never understand the truth of Taoism unless your heart is empty.”

At this, Wu lost his temper and ordered Bodhidharma to leave. The Indian monk obliged, but as he was going, he stated, “You may have been able to learn from me if your heart had been open as a mirror. But for now, this mirror is sealed.” He then took his belongings and went to the Shao Lin Temple, where he resided until his death some years later.

The Daruma Festival (Dōngzhìjí) celebrates these events with children playing red-face painting, karuta cards, and daruma doll racing.

The festival is also a significant tourist attraction for the city of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture.

FAQS About the Daruma Doll

How is a Daruma Doll used?

For most people, the doll simply adds to their home decor and serves as a conversation piece.

What is the meaning behind a Daruma Doll?

The daruma doll has many meanings, but some of the most common are:

Good luck, fortune, and prosperity.

How does a Daruma Doll work?

To get the full effect of the daruma doll, you must follow some traditions.

Write your wish on a small piece of paper and place it inside the doll.

  • Start by placing it in your home, but do not “activate” it until you are ready to make your wish.
  • Once you are ready to make your wish, color in one of the doll’s eyes. You must maintain effort until it is fulfilled.
  • Once your wish has been fulfilled, you must “deactivate” the doll by coloring in both of its eyes.


The Japanese tradition of the daruma, a hollow doll with no facial features, represents an enlightened mind. This also symbolizes how all people must strive for enlightenment and perfection to be successful.

One way that this can manifest itself is through daily goal setting and self-reflection. If we keep ourselves accountable by reflecting on our progress each day, it will become easier to set goals and find ways to reach them.

The Daruma Doll is an icon of perseverance and good luck in Japan. It stands for the belief that if you set your mind to something, anything can be accomplished. We hope this blog post has been educated about how Japanese culture views success and hard work through diligent effort.

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.