17 June, Monday
JAPAN, Katsuo-ji – A little girl tiptoes and just barely places her small red doll amongst a sea of Daruma dolls. In fact, the entire stretch is filled with these dolls of varying sizes and the small girl’s seems to be inconspicuous and insignificant. But to her, it holds a special place in her heart.
This stretch of striking red traditional Daruma dolls is located in Katsuo-ji Temple, a Buddhist sacred ground dedicated to prayers for “victor’s luck”. Modelled after Bodhidarma, the founder of zen Buddhism (a heavy influence in Japan), these traditional Daruma dolls are closely tied to the Japanese proverb “Nana korobi yaoki” which translates to “Fall down seven times, get up eight”.
This idea of never giving up or persistence permeates throughout Japanese culture and figures to play heavily at Katsuo-ji where people pray for luck in any form of endeavour. Perhaps, as the saying goes, fortune favours the bold, or in the case, the persistent.