Daruma dolls are papier mâché Japanese dolls that represent perseverance, patience, protection, prosperity, achievement, and good luck in the New Year. In this video from the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the dolls are molded, and then painted with traditional symbols, colors, and decorations.
Daruma dolls usually begin with empty white eyes. The first eye is drawn in by someone as they make a wish or set a goal. The second eye is drawn in when that wish is fulfilled or the goal is attained.
“The Matsukawa Daruma craft has been kept alive by the crafters at Hongo Daruma-ya for centuries. Here, authentic Matsukawa Daruma are made by the descendants of samurai using the exact same techniques and methods as 200 years ago.”
To participate in the 400-year-old tradition, you can find Daruma dolls online or from shops in your local Japantown… or make one yourself. Watch that video next.