Okiagari-koboshi

Okiagari-koboshi
Okiagari-koboshi, getting-up little priest) is a Japanese traditional doll. The toy is made from papier-mâché and is designed so that its weight causes it to return to an upright position if it is knocked over. Okiagari-koboshi is considered a good-luck charm and a symbol of perseverance and resilience.

Okiagari-koboshi has long been popular among Japanese children. It is mentioned in a 14th-century play called Manju-Kui, and folklorist Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo) recorded a lullaby from Matsue in Izumo Province in the early 20th century that lists the doll as a gift for a young child.

Okiagari-Koboshi are popular in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture. There, the dolls are sold in red and blue varieties. People buy the dolls during the Tokaichi (Tenth-day Market) held each 10 January. Shoppers typically throw several okiagari-koboshi down at the same time; those that stand back up are supposedly the lucky ones. Tradition mandates the purchase of one okiagari-koboshi for each member of the family plus one extra in the hope that the family will grow over the coming year.

The Okiagari-koboshi's faces vary from workshop to workshop.