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Daruma (達磨 or だるま) is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma. Daruma also refers to a hollow and round Japanese wish doll with no arms and legs, modelled after Bodhidharma. Typical colors are red (most common), yellow, green and white. The doll has a face with a moustache and beard but with eyes only containing the color white. Some dolls have written characters on the cheek areas explaining the kind of wish or desire the owner has in mind such as protection of loved ones. The chin area may contain the surname of the owner, ex: Suzuki.

Obtaining a doll

Daruma dolls for sale
Daruma dollls are typically purchased in or near Japanese
buddhist temples and can range in price from 1000 yen for small dolls (~15cm in height) to 10,000 yen or more for the largest dolls (~60cm in height). It is normal to own only a single daruma at a time.

Making a wish

Using black ink one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true the second eye is filled in. Until then the daruma is displayed in a high location in one's home, typically close to other significant belongings such as a Butsudan (a buddhist praying box).


If the daruma doll was purchased within a temple (the temple's mark is imprinted on such dolls) the owner can return it for burning. Most temples will refuse to burn dolls not exhibiting the temple's mark. Burning usually occurs at the year end.

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