Daruma’s Second Eye

Traditional doll with special meaning

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

It's hard to relate to Daruma dolls as a toy in the usual way - it’s neither a plaything nor a decoration. In fact, the Daruma doll has a special role as a reminder to set goals and encouraging you to work hard and achieve them.

I buy a new Daruma during each visit to Japan and set a goal upon returning. Then I work hard to realise it. Daruma is thought to come from Shorinzan Temple in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. Maybe my next goal would to be visit the temple... Also it could be interesting to try not just eyes, but the whole Daruma at one of the master-classes in Japan.

Daruma dolls are usually bought at the end of a year to set goals for the following one, a kind of New Year's resolution. The dolls are sold eyeless with one eye is painted when you set your goal. The one-eyed Daruma then watches you with its single eye. The second eye is then painted once your goal is achieved. Once successful, the tradition is to offer the doll to a temple though I tend to keep mine as mementos.

As I type this, my one-eyed Daruma is watching me work...

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!