Okiagari Seven Eight

. kotowaza 諺 / ことわざ idioms, sayings, proverbs .

nanakorobi yaoki 七転び八起き
seven times down, eight times up

Fall 7 times, rise 8 times.

The seventh day of the eighth month ...
Day of Daruma

Fall down 7 times and get up 8 times = this doll never gives up !
Okaya Daruma Festival ... 岡谷だるま祭り

The numbers 7 and 8 are not to be taken in reality.
Seven in this case means "a lot" in Japanese.
For example a chameleon is "七変化" changing seven times.
A road with many bends is "七曲がり" road with seven curves etc.

8 here means then "just one more time", one more try of the positive.


From the Tumbler Doll
(okiagari koboshi 起き上がり小法師)
to the Tumbler Daruma
(okiagari Daruma 起き上がりだるま)

After the Period of the Warring States Japan reached a time of 300 years of peace under the Tokugawa regime. The Tumbler Dolls of papermachee、first made in Kyoto, soon reached the new capital of Edo. The inventive townspeople of Edo painted a big black beard on the face of the old man and a visiting priest came to say: "Well, if this is not the face of Daruma Daishi himself!"
The red robe was the traditional garb of a priest. Getting up after falling down was taken as a wish getting better for an ill person. It was also said that the stark red colour would ward off smallpox, so the red tumbler doll of Daruma would be the best present for a sick child.

This one blessing was soon followed by others and developed into "Falling down seven times, getting up eight times" (nanakorobi yaoki 七転八起), turning into a blessing for many generations of the family line, good business and others. Thus Daruma got a firm place in the heart of the Japanese people and seemd to work for the good of people with six heads and six arms. The faith in him grew steadily and soon the dolls were sold at the New Years fairs at many local temples and the tradition to paint one eye for a wish started. You had to buy a new one every year, so the tradition expanded and we have to thank the founder of the Zen Sect for all of this.

DARUMA MUSEUM : Encyclopedia about Daruma   


source : 株式会社ビバリー


source : grandfather Lee, facebook


source : Dalma / fotolia . kawano


In Life, Seven Times down, Eight up
but for a maschine, always failsafe!

「人生は七転び八起き されど機械には万全のフェールセーフ」
1994年 日本産業広告賞/日本工業広告賞 参加作品

source :  www.oguraclutch.co.jp


Hand Towel TENUGUI
Daruma Pattern 達磨(だるま)柄

source :  rakuten.co.jp/anbo

Tenugui 手ぬぐい Small Towels
Daruma Museum


For his son, who is just one year and tries to walk ...
CLICK for original LINK
(C) Mamekan


Darums Senbei from Maebashi

Gunma Prefecture

from 旬彩菓たむら Tamura

. senbei だるませんべい Rice Crackers .


Japanese Style Business Card

source :  www.rakuten.co.jp/anysta


Walt Disney and his company
Pat Williams


From a Hotel in Kuriso Town

source :  www.taigo.jp/


With too much Sake,
you might need nine times to get up ...

source :  blog.golfdigest.co.jp/user/ko-sei/archive/363


source : Daruma Forum : Sarah Spaid Ishida


icy street ...
seven times down
eight times up

Gabi Greve, December 2008


- Shared by Yasuko Jameson -
Joys of Japan, 2013


Friday, March 9, 2012

Drummers hope to support earthquake victims

Many artists that watched the destruction of the Great East Japan Earthquake a year ago have said in media interviews that they've struggled with how to interpret the disaster. The taiko (drum) troupe at the International Christian University is no different.

The students titled their performance "Shichitenbatto," which is an old Japanese saying that literally translates as "rolling seven times, falling eight times." The saying is meant to describe a feeling of writhing in agony.

According to troupe member Ayaka Nakasone, the event was originally titled
"Nanakorobi yaoki,"
a Japanese saying composed of similar kanji but translates as "rolling seven times, getting up on the eighth." Thus the meaning conveys a feeling that there's always an opportunity to get back on your feet after hardship.

Nakasone says the troupe debated the title of the performance.

"We decided to change the title, because it is too easy to tell people to just get up after the disasters," she says. "We have been struggling with a feeling that there's nothing we can do for the situation. Now we want to express that we can still do something even though we're rolling and falling again and again."

Besides including traditional and festive music from different regions of Japan, the program will also feature original works, such as "Ouka" ("Joy to Live"), which was created in 1990 by the founding members of the troupe.

Proceeds from the performance will be donated to the nonprofit organization KnK Japan to support children in the disaster-hit area.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011 .


the life of Hirooka Asako 広岡浅子
(1849 - 1919)
九転十起 nine times down, ten times up !

Hirooka Asako was born as the fourth daughter of wealthy merchant, Mitsui Takamasu of Koishigawa Mitsui Family in Kyoto. She later married Hiooka Shingoro of Kagaya, another wealthy merchant in Osaka.
From Bakumatsu (the closing days of Tokugawa government) to the Taisho period when Japanese women never got the chance to appear on the center stage of the society, she founded a bank, a life insurance company, and a women’s university for the first time in Japan.
She was known as a pioneer of female Japanese business women.

- reference Hirooka Asako -


- #nanakorobi #okiagari -


Anonymous said...

"eight times up" is comedy.
"six times up" would be tragedy.

Anonymous said...

great senryu, Gabi!
and likely too true!

Anonymous said...

I have to confess, since it's December and cold outside here, I had imaged a geezer like me slipping on the ice, essentially, what the verse is saying, but it's about "psychological" ice, you tend to slip up more the older you get, and more memories of the dumb things one's done. It's cold out now colder than a witch's bumper sticker, and we put in a Franklin stove this year, so my mindset was winterized. :-)

I didn't know Boddhidharma had such vicious enemies! god bless him.
I wear a Boddhidharma button and telll my more fundamentalist friends that he was a famous chinese sufi saint. Next to it I have DHARMA written in japanese calligraphy, and I explain it as the Chinese word for the way...which gets me a lot of dirty looks as you know fundamentalists everywhere HATE spiritual paths no matter how orthodox...wearing the buttons keeps them off my back.

They figure I'll burn in hell and that makes them happy. :-) if they're happy with that, I am too (-;

Fakir I.

Anonymous said...

The stuff of good senryu, either way.

Anonymous said...

In Genjokoan, Dogen writes,

'Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas.'
The place where you get to be Buddha, so to speak, is in delusion,
and there’s plenty of that to go around.

You get up where you fall down.
You don’t get up somewhere else.
It’s where you fall down that you establish your practice.

—Ryokan Steve Weintraub

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

nana korobi ya oki no hana yo ominaeshi

seven tumble down
eight rise up...
maiden flowers

(tr. David Lanoue)

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

nana korobi ya oki no hana yo ominaeshi

you go down seven times
and get up eight

This hokku is from the spring of 1814, when Issa was living in his hometown. What is called womanflower in Japanese is the flower of a tall meadow plant that stands about three feet high on long, thin stalks. The flowers are lace-like networks of numerous small yellow petals that bloom mainly in autumn. The flower's name in Japanese is said to derive from its elegant, lace-like appearance and the graceful way the flowers sway and bend in a breeze -- though in a hard wind they can be blown down and wither. In the hokku Issa refers to the fact that although the flower's common name, ominaeshi, literally means "womanflower," another reading of the characters in the flower's name is jorou-bana. In Issa's time jorou meant a high-ranking aristocratic or warrior-class woman and also a high-ranking courtesan in one of the special districts where sex work was legal. Issa is clearly referring to the latter.

Watching womanflowers bend far over in the autumn wind again and again and then stand straight up each time reminds Issa of the difficult life that courtesans live, going down with customers again and again, while most of the money they make goes to the woman's manager. In making a double reference to elegant golden flowers and to elegantly dressed courtesans, Issa is sympathizing with the difficult lives of both. He describes the hard life of courtesans with a metaphorical proverb that mentions seven and eight times but actually means to lead a difficult life with countless ups and downs without ever giving up. Courtesans literally go down and then get up in order to do their job, but Issa seems to regard them not as strange but, rather, as typical of most humans who struggle to make a living and never give up, no matter how many problems they face in their daily lives. In Issa's diary this hokku is followed by a waka (Issa probably called it a kyouka) about how everyone in the world goes through a series of many downs and ups ("seven downs and eight ups") and how, if you entrust yourself completely to Amida Buddha, you will be able to meet him in the end, no matter how many downs you experience.

For the double image of womanflowers and courtesans, see Maruyama Kazuhiko, Issa shichiban nikki 1.305.

Chris Drake

Anonymous said...

- kotobank information -
[Despite failures, one keeps fighting back. Hence, life is full of ups and downs.]

ななころびやおき【七転び八起き】 〔七度転んで八度立ち上がる意〕
① 何度失敗しても屈せずに立ち上がること。七転八起(しちてんはつき)。
② 人生において浮き沈みの多いこと。失敗したり成功したり変転の激しいこと。 「 -の人生」

Gabi Greve said...

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8:
A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
by Naoki Higashida (Author)

Ka Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)
... Higashida he shares his thoughts and experiences as a twenty-four-year-old man living each day with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida explores school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it’s raining outside. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems.
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