Updated at 2023-05-22
Daruma is the founder of Shintoism. Despite leading a life of hardship and adversity, Daruma remained devoted to his faith. Starting in the Edo period, he gradually became synonymous with the okiagari, a traditional Japanese tumbler doll that always returns to an upright position no matter how it's pushed over. Today, most Daruma dolls commonly seen in Japan are painted entirely red with white eyes. The pupil of one of the doll's eyes is filled in when a wish is made, and the other is filled in once the wish comes true. Interestingly, the Matsukawa Daruma doll is different from the others. The front of the doll is painted in indigo to pay tribute to the Seven Lucky Gods of Shintoism, who traveled across the ocean from afar. In addition, because the feudal lord of Sendai at the time, Date Masamune, only had one eye, the Matsukawa Daruma doll has both pupils filled in. Another distinction is the eyebrows. Unlike the painted eyebrows of Daruma dolls from other regions, the Matsukawa Daruma doll has artificial eyebrows planted.
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