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Last updated: December 21, 2020
Takasaki’s handcrafted good luck charms
Daruma dolls are popular, bearded good luck charms that are purported to have originated in Takasaki. The vast majority of Japan’s dolls are still made in Takasaki, where master craftspeople, who are part of a cooperative of more than 50 manufacturers, paint them by hand.
Takasaki Daruma are recognizable for the symbols of longevity with which they are adorned: cranes for eyebrows and turtles for a mustache.
The Daruma’s eyes are intentionally left blank. Believers make a wish and fill in the doll’s left eye, then fill in the right when the wish comes true. Traditionally, people take their Daruma to a shrine at New Year and purchase a new doll for the year ahead.
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