Showing posts with label daruma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label daruma. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Introducing Daruma


Daruma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, a legendary figure who is credited with transmitting Zen teachings from either India or Central Asia to China. In Japan he is nowadays most commoly associated with the Daruma Doll, a small figure one uses in making wishes. He has no arms or legs as they "fell off" after years of sedentary meditation.

Small dolls are the form of Daruma one most encounters in Japan. The top photo however is I believe a wooden "fish drum". The second photo is a painting of Daruma. These are found usually at Zen temples.

In Matsuyama I found this small Buddhist "chapel" in the shape of Daruma. The next photo is also from a Zen temple.

I'm sure there is a story behind the very long eyebrows and facial hair of this large Daruma doll found near Arashiyama.

Buy dokudami tea from Japan

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hofukuji Jizo-Do


These are a unique form of Nio that I have not seen anywhere else. They are carved as diagonal spars that support the porch roof on the Jizo Do at Hofukuji, a small temple in the Teramachi district of Hagi. Only the Jizo Do remains, the main hall being destroyed in early Meiji.


I have been unable to find out anything about them, so if anyone has seen anything like this before, please leave a comment.


There is a legend connected to a Jizo statue here. A local man married a beautiful woman who died giving birth to a son. The father hired a nurse to take care of his son. Later he remarried and his second wife gave birth to a son. The nurse used to take both boys to play in the grounds of Hofukuji. The wife beacme increasingly jealous of the first so, believing that her son deserved to inherit the family business, so one day took a red-hot poker and struck the first son, apparently killing him.


Next day however, the son was fine with not a mark on him. Later a Jizo statue at the temple was discovered with a burn mark across its face, causing the wife to repent and become a devotee of the statue.


This is a rather unusual statue of Daruma Daishi, the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the legendary monk who brought Buddhism to China.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Takeuchi Shrine

Takeuchi Shrine is a very popular shrine on the outskirts of Matsue., It shares the ground with Hirahama Hachimangu and there is an Inari shrine halfway up the approach steps.

The Hachimangu obviously enshrines Ojin, though usually with either his mother Jingu or his father Chuhai or his wife Himegami. The Inari shrine, again obviously, enshrines Inari which nowadays is considered to be Ukanomitama.

Curiously, considering he is purely Buddhist, there was a Daruma!! Though not so curious if you have even a minimal understanding of the religious history of Japan :)

The main kami enshrined here is Takenouchi no Sukune, a legendary figure associated with Jingu and Ojin and who lived 280 years hence the reason why many people come here to pray for a long life. According to the myth his life spanned 5 emperors and many clans claim descent from him, most notably the Soga.

He is enshrined at Ube Shrine in Tottori

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not Jabba the Hut


I am almost certain that this is not a statues of Jabba The Hut, though the resemblance is uncanny. I am almost certain that it is a statue of Daruma, the Japanese name given to the Bodhidharma, known as the founder of Zen.


Bodhidharma is believed to have been an Indian monk who took new Buddhist teaching to China where it became known as Ch'an. When Japan appropriated Ch'an they called it Zen.

Daruma dolls are found all over Japan. They have no arms or legs as the Bodhidarma spent so many years in ascetic meditation that his limbs dropped off through lack of use.


Daruma dolls are usually sold without eyes. They are used to help achieve your goals. After purchasing one a single eye is painted in as you set your self a goal. When you achieve your goal you paint in the second eye.


Though Daruma is technically a buddhist symbol, most of the photos on this page were taken in shrines.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yokai Gallery 3

This is the third post on the yokai sculptures on the Mizuki Shigeru Road. Details in Yokai Gallery 1

Salaryman Yamada is not, as far as I can tell, a yokai, but he is a character in Mizuki Shigeru's work, and is based on a friend of his.

Omotogami is another name for Omotojin, also known as Kojin in neighboring Izumo. I was surprised to see it classified as a yokai as it is in fact a common kami in this part of the world. It is often known as an aragami, which is usuually translated as "rough deity", but I prefer the translation "turbulent deity", as it is a force of nature and quite capable of causing damage. More posts on Omoto here

These are Shigeru's creation, Daruma and guts, and are based on the well-known Daruma, who was the Bodhidharma who brought Zen (Chan in Chinese) from India to China. In his common form he has no arms or legs as they have atrophied from years of sitting in meditation. In Shigeru's daruma, the little creatures are daruma's "guts", and if they are killed Daruma becomes weaker.

Uwan is an invisible Yokai that inhabits old houses and temples. His shouts can only be heard inside the building. In the Edo period artists began painting images of various "invisible" yokai.

Medama Oyaji is the father of Kitaro, Shigeru's most famous character. A ghost reborn as just an eyeball, the character is known as Daddy Eyeball in the english version. He loves to stay clean and is often found bathing in a bowl.

Keukegen is completely covered in hair and is known to cause disease in humans. It inhabits damp, airless spaces, so the solution is to open windows and doors and allow some air circulation.

Yamabiko is a tree spirit living in the mountains that creates the echoes you hear in the mountains.

Syunobon is a yokai originally from Fukushima. When following you he appears human, but will startle you by reverting to his original form.

Aonyoubou (Blue Wife) is a form of Goryu, an "angry ghost". The most famous Goryu is Michizane Sugawara, commonly known as Tennjin. Humans killed for political reasons are particularly prone to be angry ghosts.