Takasaki city, in Gunma Prefecture, is the leading producer of daruma dolls in Japan. Made in papier mâché, the doll is then carefully hand painted. We got in touch with Masahiro Yoshida, the representative of the Yoshida Daruma workshop. His business takes roots in 1900, when his great-grandfather started making Daruma as a side business of agriculture and sericulture. He now makes around 100 000 daruma dolls every year.
You will notice many symbols on the doll. On his belly is written the kanji fukuiri which means that good luck will come in. On its face are drawn a crane and a turtle. It is said that cranes live for a thousand years and turtles live for ten thousand years. It is a symbol of good fortune and longevity.
You will get your daruma with empty eyes. First, paint the left eye of the daruma while making a wish. Then, when your wishes have been fulfilled, paint the other eye with gratitude.
Each color have a specific meaning:
RED = Home safety and good luck in general
BLACK = Good business and avoid natural disasters
GOLD = Money and victory
WHITE = Long life and good health