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A Daruma doll is a traditional round Japanese doll modelled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism. They are commonly red and depict a bearded face, but can appear in many different colours. The dolls are weighted at the bottom, so stand back up if they are pushed over, hence they are often paired with the Japanese saying "Nanakorobi Yaoki", "seven times down, eight times up", an expression of perseverance against misfortune.

Bodhidharma, who is known as Daruma or Dharma in Japan, is famous for having meditated alone, facing a wall in a cave for nine years. According to popular legend, this intense meditation made him lose the use of his arms and legs, which is why Daruma dolls are limbless. Bodhidharma supposedly cut his eyelids off to prevent himself falling asleep, which is also why the dolls have wide, staring eyes.

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Daruma dolls are often given as gifts because of their connotations with perseverance and luck. They are usually sold without pupils, as the receiver of the Daruma is meant to paint in one eye (to represent a task they must overcome) and then the other eye (when the task is complete).

Daruma dolls also appear in media as Daruma Otoshi, a type of game where the objective is to hit a piece out of a stack without the other pieces falling down. Think Jenga, but with cylindrical pieces and a Daruma doll theme.

See also Maneki Neko, a popular Japanese ornament that depicts a waving cat.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

  • In Doraemon, Nobita's grandmother gave him a Daruma doll as a gift before she passed away. She told him that he should always conduct himself like a Daruma doll, by always standing back up again and again, despite making mistakes over and over.
  • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure:
    • Episode 15 has a character based on a Daruma called Lavendaruma. Rabirin falls in love at first sight with the character and tries to coax Nodoka into getting one of her own, only for Nyatoran to call the doll ugly, causing Rabirin to start hating the doll. After realizing that Nodoka and her had wonderful memories trying to get her the doll, she starts liking it again.
    • The "Daruma-san fell over!" game is played by Emily and some kids in episode 17.
  • Daruma is an antagonistic Youkai who appears in GeGeGe no Kitarō. Daruma can create an army of small Daruma dolls to attack victims, and turn the victims themselves into more dolls.
  • Daruma dolls are the very first challenge for the students in Kamisama No Iu Toori Arc I. The head of their teacher explodes and a Daruma doll emerges. This Daruma doll forces the students to play a game of Red Light, Green Light. Anyone who is caught moving is killed. The goal is to reach the Daruma doll and turn it off before the timer reaches zero and everyone is killed regardless. And those who complete the challenge, sometimes specifically to save their classmates, find there's another rule: only the one who reaches the doll gets to live.
  • Medabots: In one episode of the anime, the Rubber Robo Gang starts demolishing houses and building new ones that look like a wide variety of items. The first one they're shown doing looks like a giant Daruma once finished.
  • In Nichijou, the Shinonome Laboratory has a Daruma Doll in the house with one eye painted in, which belongs to Nano. One day while playing, the Professor paints the other eye in, then fills in the eyes and paints a line between them so the doll looks like it's wearing sunglasses. Nano is devastated at seeing what's been done, though the sunglasses wearing Daruma becomes a fixture in the background of the Shinonome household from then on.
    • When Ms. Nakamura gets into her lab to learn more about Nano, she thinks the Daruma doll is a surveillance device.
    • Yuuko plays with a Daruma Otoshi in one episode. She hits a piece out of the stack so hard it hits Mio in the head. Mio catches the piece that hit her, throws it at Yukko, and sends her falling to the ground in the span of time it takes for the rest of the Daruma Otoshi Yukko hit to fall into the gap Yukko put in it.
  • Paprika. During the distorted parade sequence, a Daruma doll Mayor with four eyes can be seen shouting from a podium.
  • In an episode of the Pokémon anime, Misty's Togepi goes missing while she and her friends board a blimp (piloted by Team Rocket). At one point, she catches a Daruma doll, which she thought was Togepi.
  • Pom Poko. The tanuki practice transformation by changing into traditional Japanese ornaments, including a Maneki Neko (waving cat) and Daruma dolls.
  • During the The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, several characters stage a play called The Codger of Monte Cristo. One of the characters in the play is named Princess Daruma and wears a dress decorated with a Daruma face. Later in the film, the protagonist Otome, wears a bulbous Daruma costume when she takes part in the play herself.

     Video Games 

  • Animal Crossing has Daruma dolls as recurring furniture items which are referred to as Dharma and come in three different sizes. Interacting with the dolls results in an eye being drawn in, and a second interaction erases the eye.
  • Enter the Gungeon has a Daruma doll in it as an active item.
  • Ganbare Goemon:
    • Zone VIII of "Legend Of The Mystical Ninja'' features variants of the Daruma Doll as enemies and bosses.
    • Daruma Koronda is a miniboss in Ganbare Goemon 3 Shishijurokube No Karakuri Manji Gatame. It resembles a large Daruma doll and hops around the stage.
    • Another Daruma inspired boss appears in "Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon'', this time as a giant robot that sprouts arms and legs.
  • Daruma dolls are enemies in The Haunted Shrine in Kiki Kai Kai (known in the West as "Pocky & Rocky"). They generate smaller Daruma dolls to send after the player.
  • Ōkami. Daruma dolls can be found in the overworld. They only have one eye, so drawing in the other eye will open the doll to reveal a treasure.
  • In Onmyōji, Daruma dolls appear as a special type of Shikigami that act as Enhancers. Called "Dharma Eggs" in the game, there are four different types: Black, White, Red, and Blue. Dharma eggs can participate in battles, but their main ruction is to level up other Shikigamis and their abilities.
  • In the anime adaptation of the game, some of the characters discuss how Daruma dolls can eat without hands. It turns out the Daruma feed each other with little spoons!
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Black and White: Darumaka and its evolution Darmanitan are Fire-type Pokemon resembling a cross between a Daruma doll and a monkey, known for their strong physical attacks. Some Darmanitan possess the ability "Daruma Mode" (localised as "Zen Mode"), which causes them to retract their limbs at low health and turn to stone, becoming a Fire/Psychic-type with low speed and physical attack but strong defences and special attack.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield introduces a variety of Darumaka/Darmanitan that adapted to life in Galar, an Ice-type themed after a snow Daruma (better known in English as a snowman). Its variety of Daruma Mode reignites its vestigial flame glands, causing it to become an Ice/Fire type and boosting its Attack and Speed with no downsides.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale: An item that some customers might sell, a Daruma Doll. Classified as a type of Treasure, its Flavor Text is:
    "A foreign charm said to bring good luck. Are you supposed to paint the eyes yourself?..."
  • The World Ends with You: Pin 277 is called Daruma and is a picture of the doll.
  • Trio the Punch has a Daruma doll show up as the boss of the "That was great" level. The game freezes when the words "Daruma-san ga koronda" or "Weebles fall down!" show up, depending on the version.
  • Doll Boy (Japanese: Daruman) is the boss of The Volcano's Base in Wario Land 3 and guards the Lead Overalls. As per the setup of Daruma Otoshi, the doll sits atop three barrels and attacks by throwing hammers. Wario has to knock out the barrels from under the doll first to make it vulnerable to the finishing blow.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has Dulluma, a play on Dull and Daruma. Dulluma's design was also inspired by the hollow nature of Daruma dolls, as their true form is hidden behind a fierce exterior that resembles the face of a Daruma.
  • A boss in Yo-kai Watch 3 has the face of a Daruma doll.

     Real Life 

  • Daruma dolls can be found all over Japan, and are often propped up in shops like Maneki Neko. Tourism has also made the creation of the dolls more commercialised, as they now can be found in assortments of different colours and styles.
  • Franchises such as Hello Kitty have created their own themed Daruma dolls.
  • There are two main festivals in Japan that celebrate the dolls. The Daruma-Ichi or aptly named Daruma Doll Festival in Takasaki, which claims to be the birthplace of the Daruma dolls, and the Daruma kuyo festival, where the Daruma dolls are burned. At the first festival, Daruma dolls are bought to use for that year. Then, at the Daruma kuyo, the old Daruma dolls are given back to the temple they were bought from and burned together. Then the cycle begins again.
  • Snowmen are known as "yukidaruma" (snow daruma) in Japanese.
  • The traditional children's game of Statues or Red Light/Green Light note  is known as Daruma-san ga koronda (The Daruma fell over) in Japanese.
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