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The power of Japanese weather dolls

Japanese weather dolls

In Japan, kids are taught about teru teru bozu (shiny bald-headed monk) from a very early age. These Japanese weather dolls, made from two squares of cloth, resembles a small ghost. But in fact, it’s meant to represent a monk’s bald head. Traditionally, it’s made when a child wants to ask for good weather for the next day – it’s a way of asking the sun to come out and make the bald doll’s head shiny. If the skies actually became clear, the wisher draws eyes on its teru teru bozu and soaks it in holy sake, before sending it down the river.

In order to encourage good weather, the children must sing a song while making their teru teru bozu. Though the origins of this tradition are debated, many believe the lyrics give a clue!

Listen to the song for yourself! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnXl9jNy7o0

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu/ Make tomorrow a sunny day/ Like the sky in a dream sometime/If it’s sunny I’ll give you a golden bell

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu/ Make tomorrow a sunny day/ If you make my wish come true/ We’ll drink lots of sweet rice wine

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu/ Make tomorrow a sunny day / But if the clouds are crying/ Then I shall snip your head off

Spooky enough? And rightfully so; it relates to the legend of a monk, who promised a feudal lord a nice day. After the wish wasn't fulfilled, the lord chopped the head of the monk off. Even if the roots of the legend seem to be sad, today it is a traditional practice that brings kids a lot of joy.

by Katarzyna Kwasniewska

 

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