Weeble Wobble, Roly Poly, Okiagari Koboshi

You thought I was done talking about daruma? Do you even know me? Have you met me? I don’t think the discussion about daruma will ever end, to be honest. This one isn’t directly daruma (DD), but it is daruma-adjacent (DA). Let’s journey to Fukushima and investigate the balance boys and girls known as Okiagari Koboshi!

Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima: Home of Okiagari Koboshi

The origins of these little fellas come from the humble city of Aizuwakamatsu, which, interestingly enough, is where the last vestigates of feudal Japan fell during the Meiji Era. In Aizu, there is a holiday that takes place on the 10th of January known as Tokaichi. It is during this festival that you traditionally purchase your Koboshi, much like how you buy your Daruma at the start of the year.

Tiny Okiagari Koboshi - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com
These are tiny little ones, probably the easiest to obtain and store in your home. Be careful not to lose them!

You’ll place your little fellas on your New Years’ Shrine to wish for the well-being of your family in the new year.

Tips for Purchasing Your Own Okiagari Koboshi

The dolls are made of paper mache, hollowed out, with a weight placed inside to engage the doll’s weeble-wobble qualities.

Street Okiagari Koboshi - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com
You can find these ceramic types used as outside decorations all throughout Aizuwakamatsu!

So how to pick the best one? Well, there are different ways you can approach this. Some people take the shotgun approach, where they grab a handful, toss them down, and wait to see which ones stand upright the quickest, and select those for their purchase. Others take a more precise approach, knocking only two down at the same time and picking the winner who uprights itself first.

Large Okiagari Koboshi - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com
This big boy is hiding in a tiny enclave somewhere in Aizuwakamatsu. Can you find him on your next visit?

Regardless of how you approach picking one, it’s best to get one for each member of your family, plus one additional doll. Why is that? Well, it’s a symbolic addition to invite more possessions, good work, or a new family member into your life.

And that’s pretty much it! A nice regional take on a balance toy with a lot of parallels to the daruma.

Are there any special regional toys from your area? Let us know in the comments below!

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