Showing posts with label INFO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label INFO. Show all posts


Who is Daruma ?


Who is Daruma ? What is Daruma?

"For centuries Zen masters have said that
Daruma is Zen.
Perhaps it would now be appropriate to say that Daruma is Japan.

In neither case is the definition fully explicable or applicable. Each is essentially a KOAN whose solution is acessible only to experience, not to rational analysis.
This is to assert finally that Daruma is one key to an authentic and rewarding experience of Japan and the Japanese people."

These are the final words of Prof. McFarland in his classic about Daruma in Popular Japanese Culture.

Koan and Haiku 公案と俳句

My very first laquer Daruma


The Japanese Daruma Association
Zen Nihon Daruma Kenkyuukai 全日本だるま研究会

They publish a yearly magazine DARUMA NEWS with a lot of interesting subjects about Daruma art and monthly newsletters full of funny and serious details.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Daruma News 18 : SHIKOKU special


The Zen teachings of Daruma Daishi entered Japan during the Kamakura period, where he is revered as the First Patriarch of the Zen Sect.

Daruma Practising Zazen
for Nine Years in Front of a Wall

(menpeki kunen 面壁九年)

There are many renderings of Daruma figures, but what they want to express on the inside is always the same. It is the spirit of Daruma Daishi (about 5th Cent.), the eighth generation Great Master after Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of the Zen sect. Legend says that Daruma was born the third prince in a South Indian kingdom. He was of a sharp mind already as a child and followed the Great Master Prajnaatara, where he studied Buddhism intensly and carried on his tradition. He then took off to China to preach Buddhism, taking the sea road to South China. He was invited by Emperor Wu and expounded his wisdom for him. But the emperor did not understand the preachings of Daruma, so Daruma took off again, crossing the Yangtse River to the east and ended up in the Shaolin Temple near Loyang. He stood on some reeds when crossing the river, which leads to the famous iconographic rendering of
"Rush-leaf Daruma" (royoo Daruma 芦葉達磨).

Rush-Leaf Daruma (royoo) Daruma on a reed

Suusan 嵩山 was one of the five great centers of religious learning in China, so Daruma sat down in a cave at the foot of the mountain to practise Zazen Meditation for nine years. Later the folks of Edo imagined this long period of meditation, where his beard grew long, his legs withered away and his hands shriveled of no-use, rendering into the tumbler doll as we see him now.
The Zen teachings of Daruma Daishi entered Japan during the Kamakura period, where he is revered as the First Patriarch of the Zen Sect.

During the middle of the Edo period the famous Zen priest and painter Hakuin (白隠禅師 1685 - 1768) painted many simple impressive pictures to teach the townspeople of Edo who could not read.

Hakuin Ekaku ... 白隠 慧鶴 Hakuin Zenji

Menpeki Kunen, Wallgazing for nine years
Daruma and Meditation


Daruma as a Drinking Companion (shukoshi 酒胡子) -
Daruma as the "Old man who never falls down"
(futoo-oo 不倒翁)

and the self-righting Tumbler Doll
(okiagari koboshi 起き上がり小法師)

The origin of papermachee dolls (hariko 張子) comes from China. During the Tang period (616 - 906) Chinese culture reached a pinacle. During that time there was the custom of using a wooden doll with a pointed base, which was like a spinning top. When the doll fell, it pointed to a person who had then to drink the next cup of ricewine or do a short performance. (Remember, the cups were really quite tiny.) Times passed and we reach the Meiji Period of Japan (1868 - 1912).

The Chinese Drinking Companion had changed to a Japanese papermachee doll and was now called "Old man who never falls down". This old man seemed to get healthier with the years and was the symbol of long life. Japanese travellers to China brought the Chinese dolls back as souvenirs, since they were light and easy to carry. Falling down and tumbling up again, this was so much fun that it soon turned into a toy for little children - the Tumbler Doll was born. It seemed to fit the parent's wish for children to grow up healthy and was a hit on the market. Going through many changes during time, the old man turned into Daruma as we know the doll today.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


From the Tumbler Doll (okiagari koboshi)
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.

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


Why is the Tumbler Doll Daruma always of
RED color?

Red was the color of the robe of a high-ranking priest and since Daruma Daishi was the founder of the Zen Sect, he must have worn a red robe. The patterns painted in gold on the doll represent the Buddhist stole that a priest wore.

During the Edo Period, Daruma came to be seen by the townspeople as the healer of smallpox. Nowadays we have medicine to cure this illness, but in former times children suffered a lot from this and other diseases. It was believed that RED would ward off diseases, so the Red Daruma Doll with a threatening face became the preventor and healer of sickness. Modern medicine has found out that the color red really helps prevent smallpox!

But the Tumbler Doll Daruma is not always red. In Yamanashi Prefecture we have a white Daruma as a talisman for the silk industry and the healthy upbringing of children.

Akai ... 赤いRed Hoosoo 疱瘡 
.Smallpox, Red and Daruma


Why are the eyes of a Daruma for Good Luck
(engi Daruma 縁起だるま) always white?

In the beginning, Daruma dolls always had eyes painted. But in the Kanto area around Tokyo, Daruma Dolls with white eyes were sold during the New Years markets. The person who bought it or the priest at the temple had to paint one eye and cast a wish and after the year was over and the wish had come true, the other eye was painted and the doll then burned in a consecrating bonfire at the temple at Years End. You then got a new one for the New Year and the circle begun again.

But why did the Daruma dolls not have eyes?
When the priest Daruma sat in a cave for nine years meditating, he had to fight sleepiness. He thought: "Because I have eyes, my eyelids fall over them and I start snoozing." So in a bold act he cut off his eyelids to keep awake. (The eyelashes, which he had thrown away, took root and turned into the tea bush to give us this wonderful wakening beverage, as legend knows!)
Another explanation seems more realistic. If you paint eyes on a Daruma Doll it gets some facial expression and if you are not a good painter, it might look akward or evil. So to sell your piece, it is a lot easier not to paint the pupils and leave the blame of facial expression with the customer when he paints the eyes himself.

The next step then was to cast a wish while painting an eye, then burn it after service time was over and buy a new one - who says they did not have good business ideas in Old Edo?! Daruma Dolls were very popular and the habit of getting a new one every year has stayed with us, as we can see at the many Daruma Markets during the New Years Season.
He is a real steady Long-Seller!

Me-ire - Painting Eyes for Daruma 達磨の目入れ
Daruma and his EYES


Does the Beard and the Eyebrows of Daruma
have a Meaning?

The face of Daruma

The face of a Daruma for Good Luck is usually painted with bold strokes for beard and eyebrows. The most traditional of this kind, the Takasaki Daruma
has eyebrows in the form of a crane and a beard in the form of a tortoise, both symbols for long life (see story about TSURUKAME).

Another explanation says the beard is like a pine tree, around the eyes we have bamboo and the nostrils represent the plum, altogether the tree auspicious symbols for long life (shoochikubai, shochikubai 松竹梅). On the sides and the belly of the doll, other spells for good luck, good business and a long family line are painted, so he is the epitome of Good Luck Symbols and that is maybe why he sold so well to the Edo townspeople.

The eyebrows and the beard are painted carefully with the brush and some even used real hair to create a beautiful male face (see story about HIGE DARUMA).


. Daruma and his beard ひげだるま / ひげ達磨  

. Takasaki Daruma 高崎だるま .

. "Three friends of Winter", Pine, Bamboo and Plum  


Daruma - Does he have Arms and Legs or Not?

A normal tumbler doll of Daruma does not have any arms or legs. This shows the influence of the real Daruma Daishi sitting in long years of meditation where his legs shriveled and he cut off his arms since they distracted him, as legend tells. This little fellow with arms and legs hidden under his robe had to get up soon after he fell down and so captured the fancy of the Edo townspeople; he encouraged them and gave them hope for the future. But we have other dolls of Daruma with hands or legs from Shizuoka, Nagano or Okayama, which we will explore in a different story.

. TE 手.. The Hands of Daruma

. Jimotsu ... 持物 ... what is Daruma holding?  


When and Why did Princess Daruma
(Hime Daruma 姫だるま) come to Life?

Daruma Dolls took as model the Indian Priest Daruma Daishi, who was obviously male. But in some areas of Japan we find a sweetlooking female Daruma Doll, the Princess Daruma. The most representative of these comes from Takeda in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Here is her story:
Once upon a time more than 300 years ago, there was the young girl Aya, wed into a Samurai family and thrown out of the house by her unfriendly mother in law on an icecold winter night. She had to stay in a shed braving cold and hunger for two days and was rescued by her husband just in time. The mother in law heard the story and came to see Aya, tears in her eyes and remorse for her harsh behaviour and from that day on the family lived happily together.
The diligence of Aya became the model for a tumbler doll in the fashion of Daruma, since he is the model for diligence too, meditating nine years in a cave.

We also have the story of a curtesan who commented about Daruma
"Well, he was sitting in quiet meditation for nine years, but we here have to sit and suffer in the Noisy Pleasure Quarters for more than ten years!"
The painter Hanabusa Itchoo made a picture of the curtesan, which became the model of the Princess Daruma Dolls.

The Princess Daruma dolls where also bought as talismans when a baby girl was born to pray for her healthy upbringing.

Hime Daruma 姫だるま Princess Daruma

Oiran to Daruma 花魁と達磨 
Daruma and the Courtesans (geisha)

. Hanabusa Itchoo, Itchō 英一蝶 Hanabusa Itcho .
(1652 – 1724)


Since when was Daruma used during an Election?

Before an election, you can see pictures of the cantidates with a huge Daruma, painting in one eye while wishing to win the election. On the belly of Daruma there are the characters: Certain Victory" (hisshoo 必勝). It seems the cantidates need this lucky charm to go through the election times, it gives us the feeling: Now its election time! But when was this custom started?

The earliest elections were in 1928 for the House of Representatives. A papermachee maker of Takasaki made a Daruma called the "God to Win the Election" and went around selling it. We do not know about the outcome of the election, but we know that during the election of 1930 the representative of Nagano City, Mr. Matsumoto, painted an eye on the face of a big Daruma with the characters "God of Good Luck" and put it up in his campain center, as was shown in a newspaper article of February 6th in Asahi Shinbun. And of course, he won the election! This success story made its way around Japan in no time and the custom was born.
We can only bow to the wonderous power of Daruma to bring good luck to people.

Hisshoo Daruma 必勝ダルマ
to win an election

(Hissho Daruma, Certain Victory)


Features of a Daruma doll

One of the most popular talismans of good luck in modern Japan is the armless, legless, and eyeless Daruma doll, or tumbling doll. It is made of paper mache, weighted on the bottom so it always stand up, even when pushed- symbolic of Bodhidharma's persistence in meditation.
This has the meaning of standing up positively even if failing, and has the meaning of reaching the objective.
Moreover, the design such as "pine bamboo plum" (sho-chiku-bai), cranes, and turtles assumed that the history is good from old times is given to the pattern of the face.

History of the Daruma doll
In about the 5th century, DARUMA - Father of Zen Buddhism - obtained realization at the end when he sat for nine years toward the wall, and the teaching was succeeded from generation to generation by apprentices, spread to China, and to Japan.
In 1697, Daruma-ji temple was founded by Priest Shinetsu here in Takasaki.
He drew the image of the DARUMA in zen meditation and it is distributed at the New Year of every year, and it is assumed that it is the start of the Takasaki Daruma doll.

Toward the end of the 18th century, Yamagata Goro carved the initial Daruma doll getting a hint from the type by Priest Togaku, and he put Japanese paper on it afterwards.

During the Meiji era when the sericultural industry of silk became active, a Daruma doll was requested to pray that the farmers were able to harvest a lot of silk threads. Afterwards, at the present age, the tumbling doll became necessary and indispensable as a guardian that people pray to for their business prosperity.

There is the Daruma-ji temple at the Mt. Shorinzan in Takasaki City, and a Daruma fair is held on the 6th and January 7 every year.
It is crowded with the people who buy the Daruma doll from the Japanese whole country.


seems a nice way to put it.

Daruma is really quite a phenomenon here in Japan.

I always tell our visitors that he is
the most famous foreigner in Japan!

To get a glimpse at the scope, check out this long list of items I have been writing about in the culutral context of Japan:

Daruma Museum Japan

If you have finished reading all of the above, you might have
a glimpse of the
Daruma Phenomenon in Japan.

. Haiku and Daruma

Daruma san (Darumasan, Bodhidharuma, Bodhidharma, Daruma Daishi, Dharuma, Dharma)  だるま 達磨 ダルマ ぼだいだるま 菩提達磨 だるまさん

GOOGLE for more answers
WHO is Daruma ?

GOOGLE for more answers
WHAT is Daruma ?


..... Books about Daruma だるまの本、大百科など


My special Daruma reading the sutra

Zen and Daruma
have always been very close to me since my first steps in Japanese Archery (弓道) in 1977 in Kamakura. My first purchase was a huge seated Daruma statue (see top of this story), which had to spend a long time on our television set, since the house was so small. Now he got his promised space in our large farmhouse compound,
the Paradise Hermitage (GokuRakuAn 極楽庵)
in Okayama Prefecture, where we moved in 1995 and now have a real Daruma Museum.

Towards the end of 2001 I was lucky to encounter Mr. Kyobashi and his fantastic homepage (which unfortunately closed down in 2009), so I started to write some stories about Daruma myself. I intend to continue this with his valuable help and I want to take this opportunity to thank him very very much for his support.

Gabi Greve, January 2010

. . . . .

司馬江漢 Shiba Kokan, Shiba Kōkan (1747 - 1818)

. DARUMA - Father of Zen Buddhism .  
by my friend, Mark Schumacher


Someone who seeks the Way doesn't look beyond himself.
He knows that the mind is the Way.
But when he finds the mind, he finds nothing.
And when he finds the Way, he finds nothing.
If you think you can use the mind to find the Way, you're deluded.
When you're deluded, buddhahood exists.
When you're aware, it doesn't exist.
This is because awareness is buddhahood.

- Bodhidharma

source : facebook


- #daruma -


Goshiki Five Colors


Goshiki Daruma and Color Symbols
五色だるま ― 色彩散歩

CLICK for more photos

Goshiki 五色 means "Five Colors".

The concept GOSHIKI comes from Buddhist philosphy, so I quote part of an excellent explanation of this online dictionary:

五識 The five consciousnesses produced in connection with the five sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, which take as their objects the five physical categories of form, sound, smell, taste and tactile objects: therefore, the visual consciousness 眼識, auditory consciousness 耳識, olfactory consciousness 鼻識, gustatory consciousness 舌識 and tactile consciousness 身識.

The five consciousnesses taught in the Awakening of Faith:
(1) The activity (karmic) consciousness 業識, which arises with the unenlightened mind due to original ignorance.
(2) The changing (transforming) consciousness 轉識, wherein the activity consciousness undergoes a single transformation producing the subjective view.
(3) The manifesting consciousness 現識, in which based on transformation of the activity consciousness the objective world is manifested.
(4) The knowing consciousness 智識, in which the mind creates mistaken discrimination based on its perception of the objects in the external world.
(5) The continuing consciousness 相續識, wherein, based on mistaken discrimination, the thoughts of pain and pleasure continue without abatement, thus enabling the continuity of samsara.

Daruma Dolls in five colors 五色だるま
are ment to remind us of these truths all the time.

The Heart Sutra 般若心経 teaches us:
"All color is void, all void is color".
Color means worldly affairs, or on a more scholarly level, the five Skandhas.

Sutra, Sutras, Buddhist scriptures (kyoo, o-kyoo お経)
Hanya Shingyo 般若心経 Heart Sutra and more

深大寺達磨 Temple Jindaiji
Jindai-ji Temple and the Sanskrit ajikan meditation 阿字観

"During his practice of contemplation and illumination the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (観音菩薩) attained Truth. By means of his minutely subtle Dharma practice he penetrated the five skandhas, perceiving them as empty.....".


From the Great Buddhist Dictionary (仏教大辞典、小学館) we can learn the following:

The five basic colors are
Green, Yellow, Red, White and Black.
They refer to the five Skandhas (goshiki 五識), the five Wisdoms (gochi 五知) or the five Buddhas (gobutsu 五佛) as an expression of the various Buddhist teachings. In Japan there was the custom during the Heian period to hang a scroll of Buddha Amida Nyorai in front of a dying person, whith a fivecolored string (goshiki no ito 五色の糸) coming from the hand of the Buddha extending to the hands of the person. If you hold it firmly during your last minutes, you were assured a strait passage to the Paradise of the West (Amida Joodo 阿弥陀浄土).

One of the objects in the hand of a Kannon with 1000 Hands (Senju Kannon 千手観音) is a Fivecolored Cloud (goshikiun 五色雲).
The water poured over the head of the statue of Shakyamuni as a child during the festival for his birthday on April 8 (kanbutsu-e潅仏会) is called Fivecolored Water (goshikisui 五色水).


But what are these five colors?

Tibetan Prayer Flags
The flags are fashioned in colors representing the elements of the universe.
Blue is the sky;
White is for the clouds;
Red is fire;
Green is water; and
Yellow is for the earth.

Each wave of the flag by the wind is considered one complete reading of the prayers printed on the flags.


. Japanese Prayer Flags in Five Colors
(goshiki ban 五色幡)


In Edo there were five temples with five identical statues of Fudoo Myoo (Acala) (Goshiki Fudoo 五色不動) to secure supernatural power for the protection of the city from the north. The stautes only differed in the color of the eyes: The place names for the black eyed Meguro and the white eyed Mejiro are still used in Tokyo today. The red eyed was in Komagome, the yellow eyed in Komatsugawa and the green eyed in Setagaya.

Goshiki Fudo / Fudo eyes in five colors in Edo

Meguro Fudo Sama 目黒のお不動さま
The most famous of these five Fudoo is the one in Meguro, where even today on the 28th of each month, the day dedicated to Fudoo, there is a huge festival and bazaar in the temple grounds where I always went to check out Daruma dolls and antiques. If you visit there, do not forget to walk around the main temple hall to the little forest in the back. There is someone waiting for you worth meeting. I will not spoil your fun by telling!

On the 28th there are also great fire rituals (goma kuyoo 護摩供養) at different hours during the day, where you can get your talismans and other belongings consecrated by Holy Fire. I once bought one talisman with the number of our car for Traffic Safety and the priest would not hand it over until it had passed the Holy Smoke. Since that day, we never had an accident with that car.
The temple compounds are quite big, with a lot of other buildings and statues to look at. One of my favorite is a stone grotto with En-no-Gyooja, the Founder of the Mountain Priests (yamabushi). I strongly recommend you visit Meguro Fudoo on any 28th day of a month, it brings back memories of OLD EDO which you have never known.
Have a look at Meguro temple.
- - quote - tomiaki/goshiki/meguro -

My Visit to
. Meguro Fudo 目黒不動 .
and Tako Yakushi TAKO Yakushi 多幸薬師


There are also some scenic areas in Japan called GOSHIKI.
Usually they have very colorful natural sourroundings to justify this name.

The Five-colored Beach Goshiki Hama in Awaji Island 淡路島の五色浜。
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Goshikihama Shrine in Iyo、Shikoku 伊予の五色浜神社
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

The Five-colored Swamps in Aizu, Urabandai 裏磐梯の五色沼
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Mount Goshiki (五色岳, Goshiki-dake) is a mountain located in the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group of the Ishikari Mountains, Hokkaido.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Sanuki no Goshikidai 讃岐の五色台
near Takamatsu, Shikoku                    
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Goshikichoo 五色町 Goshiki Village / Town
in Hyogo
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


There is a shrine at Gasshooyama 尾鑿山 Gasshoyama in Tochigi, where the stump of an old cedar tree of more than 1800 years is venerated as the deity BLACK DARUMA Kurodaruma (黒だるま).

境内には樹齢1800年余の杉の切株が在り国内でも比類なき巨木の跡に驚く。 現在は、尾鑿山山頂の奥宮の位 置する峻厳な雄姿を象った御神威「黒だるま」。            


The first HP I encountered checking about GOSHIKI in German was about a sort of decorative carp fish with that name.

A dark koi with red (kohaku style) hi pattern. Appears similar to an Asagi with little or no Hi below the lateral line and a Kohaku Hi pattern over reticulated (fishnet pattern) scales.
The base color can range from nearly black to very pale sky blue.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


You can read all about different colors for different needs of a papermachee Daruma on this HP of Imai Shop in Japanese and order the one you need online. They all come as papermachee with no eyes, so you can make your wish and hope for the best.

- - - - - I give you an overview:
Purple is for a long life and preventing disasters.
Green to remind you of your beginners mind all the time.
Pink for safe delivery and good relations (see story about ANZAN).
Yellow brings good luck.
Black wards off evil and brings black colors to your bank account.
White is for purity of mind and a wedding present.
Gold will bring you riches. (The chinese characters for Gold 金and Money 金 are the same.)

The Imai store also offers an opportunity to make a papermachee Daruma yourself. Or you can order a white one with your special wish or name written on the belly. 

- source :


Mini Daruma in Five Colors

In Pink, Yellow, Green, Red and White    


Arai store offers Daruma in gold, silver and other colors. Have a look.
A blue and red couple for the Dolls Festival (だるま雛) is also available.

Kimura store
has a set of colorful Daruma. The black one is especially conspicious as a New Years Present for a company, since it contains a wish for Black Numbers on your balance sheet.
White for Good Luck and Long Life, Yellow for Safety, Blue for peace, Black for Good Business, Purple for Long Life,
Pink for Love.


Here are the Darumas in five colors from my collection. They are really quite small, only 3,5 cm large. I got them in a store in Kurashiki. For some reason, the blue one is striking purple.


And the last one shows four of a group of five tiny Daruma in a little basket. They are only about 1 cm each.
これはミニだるまで, 高さは1cmです。五色ではなく四色しか保存されていませんでした。小さい籠に寝ています。


goshiki ni nuru mochi yawarakashi o-meikoo

the mochi cakes
in five colors and so soft ...
memorial for Saint Nichiren

Hasegawa Kanajo 長谷川かな女 (1887 - 1969)

. Saint Nichiren and related KIGO

omeikoo, o-meikoo, same as oeshiki, o-eshiki 御会式(おえしき)
kigo for autumn
Buddhist festival commemorating Saint Nichiren, who passed away at Ikegami on October 13,1282.
Saijiki of Buddhist, Shinto and other Ceremonies

source :
goshiki soomen 五色そうめん Somen noodles

. WASHOKU - Goshiki dishes of Japan  
goshiki dorayaki 五色どらやき Dorayaki
goshiki namagashi 五色生菓子 sweets
goshiki toogarashi 五色唐辛子 red pepper
goshiki soomen 五色そうめん Somen noodles
goshiki sushi 五色寿司 Sushi
goshiki mochi 五色餅 Mochi rice cakes

. goshiki 五色と伝説 Legends about the five ritual colors .
goshikifu, goshiki fu 色麩色 Fu gluten in five colors
goshiki no hana musubi 五色の花むすび rice balls in five "blossom" colors
goshiki senso 五色鮮蔬 fresh vegetables in five colors
goshiki soomen 五色そうめん Somen noodles in five colors


goshiki no ito 五色の糸(ごしきのいと)string of five colors
negai no ito 願の糸 (ねがいのいと) "string for wishes"
..... ganshi 願糸(がんし )
for the Tanabata Star Festival
observance kigo for early autumn

. Tanabata Star Festival 七夕 .

. Gankake 願掛け to make a wish .


Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America
Go-Shiki / 5 color Gem Mamori Bracelet
Ame-no-Koyane-no-Mikoto and Futo-Dama-no-Mikoto brought the 500 branch true sakaki trees as offering, hanging the divine e jewels in the upper branches, the divine mirror in the mid branches and cloth offerings on the lower branches. Ame-no-Hazuchi-wo-O-Kami wove cloth of many colours, these pacificatory offerings are the origin of the for the colours, the 5 colors represent the 4 directions + center:

Mitsudomoe (symbol of Shrine Shinto) can also be called "Mikubitama" and consists of:

Black (purple) means North (Ara Mitama)
Blue (green) means East (Kushi Mitama)
Red means South (Sachi Mitama)
White means West (Nigi Mitama)
Yellow means the sacred Center (Nao-Hi =sun rays)

As Sarutahiko Okami is Kunitsu Kami Oyagami/ ancestor Kami of all Earthly Kami as well Dousoujin/Michibikikami/ Kami of the way, guidance and opening the path when we stand firmly centered on the Earth receiving sacred sunshine we can make correct progress on our individual life paths. Go-shiki-mamori bracelets mean to stand in the current moment in the divine center and receive power from Earth and Heaven. These mamori bracelets are made of very high quality hand carved gemstones. The semi precious gems are of "AA+ " grade. The power gems used are:

Black/purple = murasaki suisyo/amethyst. Highest colour vibration/ healing stone....Amethyst means both love and also stimulates the intellectual side of your life while calming your nervous system. Amethyst meaning is also reveal hidden charm and abilities.. Increases activity of right-side brain - purifies blood - reinforces immune function - increases psychic skills and intuition - peaceful mind.

Blue/ Green = Hisui/jade Calming, dispel misfortune, bravery in face of adversity, increased patience, protection of love and friendship. Jade was prized more highly than gold. green jade is the most highly sought after and its color comes from chromium.... green Jade enhances healing of both the emotional and physical. It is linked to the heart and is said to enhance prosperity and abundance and especially longevity

Red = Carnelian is to energize the blood. Excellent for both being in the moment and motivation to make correct choices, decisions and movement. Known as the most powerful ACTION gem---self-actualization--stimulating analytical capabilities, precision and motivation.

White = clear suisyo/crystal is for harmony and protection Clear Quartz has very strong powers of protection as it can absorb negative energies and harmonize KI of the wearer and enhance power. It has the ability to transmit and receive energy. In transmission, it can amplify, focus, and direct the energy. In receiving, it can store energy for later use, transform it into any usable condition, screen out unwanted vibrations and purify, calm and balance/centre one's own Ki

Yellow = Ki iro hisui/ yellow jade jade used for millennia as the ultimate symbol of calm, serene joy. Connected to spirituality, longevity, positive fortune and prosperity -- yellow jade means joy, confidence and self assurance.
source :


Goshiki Fudo / Fudo eyes in five colors in Edo

. Goshiki jika 五色鹿 deer in five colors .
Kasuga shrine, Nara

. Goshiki suzu 五色鈴 five-colored clay bells .

..... Colors in Haiku Traditional Japanese Colors

. goshiki 五色と伝説 Legends about the five colors .


. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 .

goshiki ga hama

goshiki no hana

goshiki kasumi

goshiki kasumi

source :

kumo no i no goshiki ni hikaru harubi kana

this spring day
sparkles in five colors
in the spider web

fumizuki no mono yo goshiki no ito soomen

so good in the
seventh month - Somen noodles
in five colors


- more combination of GOSHIKI and haiku -

花見団子五色の白きより食ぶる 猿橋統流子 goshiki dango

雛の膳京の五色麩色どりに 岩田つねゑ goshiku fu

浜大根網も五色の御座の磯 鈴木公二 goshiki goza

夕栄の五色が浜をかすみけり 正岡子規 goshiki hama

山寺や五色にあまる花見堂 蓼太 goshiki hanamidoo

雲丹の針五色に動く汐干かな 栗原ゆうゆう goshiki hari

五色旗は垂りても五色秋晴るゝ 久米正雄 goshiki hata

花の雲鳩は五色に舞ひあそぶ 茅舎 goshiki hato

はひまわる五色の火蛾や楽譜書く 池内友次郎 goshiki higa

goshiki ishi 五色石 pebbles
拾ふ石五色揃ひぬ磯遊 井上杉香
掌に揃ふ石の五色や磯遊び 加倉井秋を
絵の島や石も五色の花盛 花盛 正岡子規
角巻や浜に拾ひし五色石 石田野武男
五色石渚に拾ふ近松忌 石田野武男

五色針糸の尾長う縫ひ初め goshiki ito
冬茜五色の糸にみちびかれ 川崎展宏
薬玉や五色の糸の香に匂ふ 嘯山

夏の川カヌーの五色揃ひけり 大谷ひろし goshiki kanuu

風車まはり消えたる五色かな 鈴木花蓑 goshiki kazaguruma

宮城や五色にそろふ初霞 正岡子規 goshiki kasumi
星消えてあとは五色の初霞 正岡子規

梶の葉を懸けて五色の絹帷 桂樟蹊子 goshiki katabira

五色湖は女波ばかりや鳥曇 角川源義 goshiki ko - lake

手折りもす五色の香の今日の菊 石口光子 goshiki koo - incense

幕間や五色の独楽を買初に 千手和子 goshiki koma

スケーター五色の蜘蛛の散るごとし 石塚友二 goshiki kumo
蜘の囲の五色に光る春日かな 正岡子規

五色幕はりめぐらしてお取越 枌さつき goshiki maku

goshiki mame 五色豆 beans
五色豆のざらつく甘さ春の雪 鍵和田[ゆう]子
花疲れ膝にこぼせる五色豆 斎藤朗笛
春燈下紙にいただく五色豆 清崎敏郎
松過ぎの肉桂のにほふ五色豆 高澤良一
買初めの色のほのほの五色豆 高澤良一

五色饅頭青は色濃き春の風 久米正雄 goshiki manju

霊峰の風を五色に秋立てり 吉原文音 goshiki mine - peak

麦わらを口に妖婦や五色水 松瀬青々 goshiki mizu

五色に塗る餅柔かしお命講 長谷川かな女 花寂び goshiki mochi

蔵王紅葉五色の山気流れ出づ 渡辺恭子 goshiki mojimi

五色沼鴨来て色を深めけり 鈴木漱玉 goshiki numa
五色沼その瑠璃沼の明け易き 山口青邨
五色沼つなぐ小径の落し文 秋本文茶
五色沼鴨来て色を深めけり 鈴木漱玉
花薄色それぞれの五色沼 目代智子
鳥わたる豆粒ほどの五色沼 杉良介

起し絵の山紫水明五色摺り 伊藤瓔子 goshiki okoshi-e

五色縷の垂れも垂れたり肘枕 飯田蛇笏 goshiki ru (line of spittle)

切山椒五色置かれしめでたさよ 河野多希女 goshiki sansho

文月のものよ五色の絲素麺 文月 正岡子規 goshiki soomen

五色椿満開色の定まらず 塩川雄三 goshiki tsubaki
柵内に五色椿を散らしめし ふけとしこ

goshiki uchiwa 五色団扇 handfan
五色団扇の一本を手にしつつまし 梅林句屑
夜まどゐや五色団扇の我は青 皆吉爽雨
いつしかに五色団扇も青ひとつ 福田蓼汀

羊羹の三色五色秋しぐれ 久保田万太郎 goshiki yookan

うぐいすの肺ひと呼吸に五色なす 橋本夢道 uguisu no mune

- reference : haikureikudb database -

goshiki no sen 五色の賤(ごしきのせん)outcasts


- reference : goshiki at amazon com

授業で使える「五色百人一首 goshiki hyakunin isshu
五色あられ goshiki arare - food
五色の舟 goshiki no fune
五色の花たば goshiki no hanataba
怪談五色 goshiki kaidan
五色蟹 goshiki kani
五色なげコマ goshiki koma toys
五色の虹 goshiki no niji
五色温泉 goshiki onsen
五色黄土石けん goshiki sekken
五色詠-Immortal Lovers
. . . and more at amazon com


- #goshiki #fivecolors -

Senkootate Incense holder


Senkootate - Daruma as an Incense Stick Holder
線香立てとだるま ― 香道散歩

This topic comprises various parts:

Koo お香 Incense - Introduction

Koogoo - Daruma as an Incense Container 香合とだるま

Kooro - Daruma as an Incense Burner  香炉とだるま

CLICK for more photos


Let us venture into the world of incense.
Sometimes I feel the private use of incense in a home is the origin of all modern aromatherapy. To light an incense stick and a candle after a hectic day of work, listen to some soft music and taste some nice ricewine is a treat for all of your senses. It lifts your spirit on a higer level in no time and lets you enjoy the moment as a human BE-ING, not DO-ING for a while.

Incense in Japan has been introduced together with Buddhism in the 5th century and been used during religious ceremonies for a long time. It seems to purify the holy space of a temple and pacify the mind of the worshippers to enable them to get a glimpse (should I say: a whiff) of the Beyond. But maybe only in Japan has the use of incense been elevated to the "Way of the Incense" (koodoo 香道), next to the Way of Tea, the Way of the Flowers, the Way of the Bow and so many other Japanes WAYs of enriching life with a sence of
the true, good and beautiful (shinzenbi 真善美).

During the Heian period the use of incense turned into an elaborate "Fragrance Hobby" (gankoo 翫香) which brings us to the novel of Genji (Genji Monogatari 源氏物語) by Murasaki Shikibu 紫式部.

Read about incense and poetry :
source :


In "The Book of Incense"
Kiyoko Morita introduces you to this "refined, highly nuanced art form intimately related to classical Japanese poetry and prose and dedicated to an enhanced appreciation of the sences." If you are ready for a new experience of the senses, follow the many hints of this lovely little book. In the foreword by Professor Edwin Cranston from Harvard University we read: "As in all matters of cultural appreciation, one needs to enter into the spirit of the thing. The fragrance of smoldering aromatic woods, each subtly different, makes it easy to do just that. Fragrances remind us of home - the garden, the embrace of scented sleeves, the memory of one who has passed away - and in this resides their true power." Maybe you want to light an incense stick before reading on, just as I always light one before sitting down at the desk pondering my Daruma stories.

The smell of incense can be very subtle and faint, so the act of concentrated smelling it is called "listening to incense" (monkoo, bunkoo 聞香) in Japanese.
Here is one explanation for this expression.

In the Buddha's world everything is fragrant like incense, including the words of Buddha. Fragrance and incense are synonymous, and Buddha's words of teaching are incense. Therefore Bodhisattvas listen to Buddha's words in the form of incense, instead of smelling them.
Reference : The Book of Incense


Here is a quote form David Ollers HP about the practical use of incense sticks during Zazen practise.

"Commonly, most Buddhist teachers will say incense is not used as a psychotropic aid for meditation or religious practice, or a psychological-state altering vehicle to enlightenment. The vast majority of Buddhist monks would not prescribe incense for this purpose, and feel you should be able to meditate and achieve spiritual awakening regardless of the aromatic environment. Benefits the Zen monks may speak of are: incense helps keep the flies out of the Zendo, it prevents unwanted body odors from becoming a distraction, and that it is used as a clock or timer for sitting periods. And then they will tell you not to blink if a fly drinks the water from your eye, no odor should distract your meditation, and don't watch the clock since "Time is Being!"


Different Kinds of Incense  
In an article by David Oller about incense making you find an introduction to many ingredients.
Nippon Koodoo (Nippon Kodo) 日本香道 also features some interesting information.

Incense Ingredients
Breaking down the five elements and their Ayurvedic relationship to plants and common incense ingredients we find them falling into five classes. The following chart shows the relationship:
 1. Ether (Fruits)  Star Anise (daiuikyoo 大茴香)
 2. Water (Stems & Branches)
   Sandalwood (byakudan 白檀),  
   Aloeswood (jinkoo, jinko, chinkoo, jinsuikoo 沈香 kyara 伽羅),
   Cedarwood, Cassia (Chinese cinnamon, keihi 桂皮),
   Frankincense (Olibanum, nyuukoo 乳香),
   Myrrh(motsuyaku), Borneol (Bornean Camphor "Dragon's Brain" 龍脳)
 3. Earth (Roots)
   Turmeric(Kurkuma, ukon ウコン), Ginger, Costus Root, Valerian,
   Spikenard Indian (kanzoo 甘草)
 4. Fire (flower)  Clove(chooji 丁子)
 5. Air (leaves)  Patchouli (パチョリ、kakkoo カッコウ)



Kyara - Aloeswood (Agarwood)
in six different flavours from six different regions (rikkoku 六国)
Kyara is one of the most desired incense ingredients in the entire world! This amazing substance has affected individuals throughout history so powerfully that in many Asian languages the term "Kyara" has been used to signify the finest of things. The most beautiful women in Japan are called Kyara Ladies, meaning that their beauty is rare and the finest possible, Kyara Clogs meant high-quality clogs and so on.

The most famous piece of Kyara is called "Ranjatai" and kept in the imperial storehouse Shoosooin (Shosoin 正倉院) on the grounds of the temple Toodai-ji in Nara. The white bands show where chips have been cut off as presents to high-ranking people like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the first Tokugawa Shoogun Ieyasu.
The other areas are Rakoku (羅国)、Manaka (真那賀), Manaban (真那蛮), Sumotara (寸門多羅) and Sasora (佐曽羅).

Sacred wood for incense


Incense sticks, Joss sticks
(alternative spellings are senkoo, senko, senkou, senkoh 線香)
You get the best fragrance from a lit stick if you keep it 20 to 30 cm from your nose. The red spot where the stick is burning does not emit fragrance, rather it is the part of the stick a few milimeters below where the heat causes the fragrance to be released.
My favorite incense stick comes from the store Tenkun-Doo in Kamakura. It is the first on the list called 寿王.

In Japan we have some other interesting types of incense. I will introduce you to two of them.
Incense sticks with Sutras funkyookoo 焚経香
The Heart Sutra (Hanya Shinkyoo) or other sutras are written in tiny golden or silver Chinese characters on 20 incense sticks. The name of the temple where you get them is usually also written on them. The stick does not disintegrate during burning but keeps standing with the tiny letters of the sutra shining dark on the ashes. It is quite a treat to sit down quietly and watch one stick slowly turning into living ashes. If you look at the HP quoted below and touch the box of incense, you can see a picture of the stick after burning. These wonders of handycraft are made by Anshin-Doo 安心堂.

焚経香の形状は直径2.5ミリ×145の香を20本整列させたもので、二百六十六文字におよぶ般 若心経まで鮮明に表記されています。2.4ミリの文字は正常な視力の方ならはっきり判読できます。

Incense Sticks with Buddha Image and Name

These sticks are almost five milimeters in diameter and you need a big container to stand them firmly. They are completely black with a light spot on the top side. You put them in the container with the spot facing you and sit back in quiet meditation for about 30 minutes. After the stick has burned down about 5 milimeters without disintegrating, the face of Amida Buddha is starting to appear on the white ash stick. Then as it burns down further the Chinese characters for the incantation of Amida, Namu Amida Butsu, start to appear in dark color on the stick. As the gentle smell fills the room you can visualize the benevolence of the Buddha as you watch its name appear fully. One stick which I burned about a month ago is still standing firmly.


photos TBA

Its time to look at some incense stick holders with Daruma.

Here is one made of Bizen pottery and sold at local stores in Bizen City. He is only 2 cm high but his eyebrows are strongly modelled and he seems to watch the incense stick while it burns.

This little fellow is made of Arita pottery. He comes with a little tray of white and red color. His face is painted in blue and he holds his arms forward to take the incense stick almost as if it was a sword to fight. He is 3.5 cm high.

This one comes with a heavy white tray and is quite heavy himself. His face is simple but quite expressive. He is 3 cm high and made by Nippon Craft.


source :



bright summer morning
the musty smell of jinko
still clings to your hair.

though not completely awake
last night rushes back at me


Mid July morning
a soft grey mist everywhere
hill and sky obscured

for forty years, behind me
now at sixty, my destination


cannot find the moon
yet luminous clouds tell me
that it's still up there

It would seem there're two, moons that is,
one veiled, another in my heart

Patrick Duffey, facebook


Koo お香 Incense - Introduction

Koogoo - Daruma as an Incense Container 香合とだるま

Kooro - Daruma as an Incense Burner  香炉とだるま

. Incense in India ... HAIKU




Oribe Pottery


Oribeyaki 織部焼 Daruma of Oribe Pottery

My chawan tea bowl with Daruma


Oribe pottery is not named after an aera, like most Japanese ceramics, but after the person who started the tradition.
Lets meet Furuta Oribe 古田織部 (1544 -1615).

He was a samurai and also a famous tea master. He was born in Mino (today Gifu Prefecture). He lived during troubled times of Japanese History and served Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and also Tokugawa Ieyasu. But then he sided with the Toyotomi Clan and was ordered to commit seppuku by Ieyasu in 1615.

Oribe's tea master was the famous Sen no Rikyu, but the eccentric Oribe soon started his own way of serving tea, the Oribe Way (Oribe-ryuu) and also tought the Tea Ceremony to Ieyasu's son, Hidetada.

He soon began to make his own tea utensils and other pots and plates to serve food in a unique pottery style with a green glaze and unusual forms to suit his whims. His most famous disciples are Kobori Enshuu and Hon-ami Kooetsu.

CLICK for more samples

He produces many warped pieces (yugami)
沓形(くつがた) kutsugata pieces
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. shiki matsuba 敷松葉 (しきまつば) spreading pine needles  
was invented by Oribe for his tea garden, to give it a warm and elegant touch in winter.

. . . . .

More about Hon-ami Kooetsu.
. Reference .

Oribe Pottery is part of the Mino tradition.
. Mino Pottery Reference .


CLICK for more photos CLICK for more photos
Click for more examples

There are many types of ORIBE pottery.

 ・ 青織部 …Bluegreen Oribe 器の一部に緑釉を施し、余白に鉄絵文を加えたもので、量 的な点から織部を代表する作品群。
・ 黒織部 …Black Oribe 緑釉の代わりに黒釉をかけたもの。
・ 総織部 …All Glazed Oribe 器物全体、あるいは大半を緑釉で覆ったもの。
・ 絵織部 …Oribe with Pictures 白地に鉄絵だけで文様が施されているもの。
・ 鳴海織部 …Narumi Oribe 緑釉と染め分けの余白の地が白地でなく赤土となっている。 
・ 赤織部 …Red Oribe 赤土を素地とし、それに鉄絵文・白泥を加えたもの。
・ 弥七田織部 …Yashichida Oribe 素地は薄手で繊細な絵付けを施し、薄い発色の緑釉を細く紐状にたらし掛けしたもの。
・ 伊賀織部…Iga Oribe 美濃伊賀・織部伊賀とも呼ばれ、大胆な形としヘラや印刻でアクセントをつけ白泥と黒褐色の飴釉を流しかけたもの。
・ 唐津織部 …Karatsu Oribe 絵唐津風な作品で織部と唐津の繋がりを感じさせるものです。
・ 志野織部 … Shino Oribe 志野と織部の中間的な性質を帯びたもの。   
一口に織部といってもこのようにたくさんの種類がありわかりにくいと思います。 織部釉の青が掛かっていなくても織部焼の範疇に入ります。


CLICK for more photos

Talking about Oribe, I should mention the Tea Ceremony, but I keep that for a different story.

. WKD : Tea Ceremony Saijiki

Just as I am writing this, on May 26, 2002 The Japan Times featured some articles about Green Tea and the Tea Ceremony, so you might have a look.

Tea to soothe the soul

   The pick of the crop

   Art and life in a bowl

The great green elixir?


Oribe Matsuri 織部祭り
In the town of Toki, there is a special Oribe Festival on August 3 and 4, 2002.
. Reference : Oribe Festival .


CLICK for more photos

There is a Museum with Oribe and Shino Pottery.


Turning point :
Oribe and the arts of sixteenth-century Japan

Miyeko Murase; Mutsuko Amemiya; Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Ceramics are closely connected to the tea ceremony and central to Japanese culture. In this context Oribe wares represented a unique and major development, since they were the earliest Japanese ceramics to carry extensive multicolor decoration. Boldly painted with geometric and naturalistic designs, they display sensuous glazes, especially in a distinctive vitreous green, as well as a whole repertoire of playful new shapes.
These dashing wares matched the vigorous, extroverted, rapidly changing world of the warlords. Their genesis has traditionally been ascribed to Furuta Oribe (1543/44-1615), a warrior and the foremost tea master of his time, who appears to have played a crucial role in redefining the aesthetics of Japan. Over seventy engaging vessels of Oribe ware, along with striking examples of other types of wares produced in the same milieu, make up the heart of this catalogue."

"During the era of Oribe, a common aesthetic language bound all the visual arts more strongly than at any other time in Japan before or since, and intimate working relationships existed among artists in different media. The forces that nourished this creative energy, the transformations that occurred, and the splendid works that resulted - together constituting the subject of this catalogue - are discussed by twenty distinguished scholars."
- source : -


Now have a look at my Daruma in Oribe style, standing a tall 21 cm high. His little toes are showing under the robe and his face has the eccentric features of Old Oribe himself. Daruma statues in the Oribe style are very seldom.

Daruma with an Oribe robe 


Another typical piece of Oribe pottery are the oil dishes (aburazara 油皿), to be put under a portable room lantern (andon 行燈). They were frequently used in every household until the electric light took over.

In the following interesting article in English you get an overview about the illumination during the Edo period.

. Choochin, Andon, Japanese lanterns and Daruma

Here is a typical oil dish from Miyoshi san:


Finally the oil dish of my collection. The little Daruma is painted with a few abstract strokes only, the body almost forming a spiral. Diameter 21 cm.


Oil Dish : Mouse and Bread
and my haiku

Yakimono Pottery ... General Information

Incense and Daruma

Kobori Enshuu Student of Furuta Oribe


Oribe bina chichi ni no musume chigo o daku

Oribe dolls -
holding my baby girl
which looks like papa

source : mahoroba shahai