The Japanese custom “Teru Teru Bozu”, making a doll for good weather tomorrow

Have you ever seen a doll hanging in someone’s window in Japan? Japan is now in its rainy season, so you may have seen them. This very old custom is called “Teru Teru Bozu”, and is hung in hopes for good weather.

2016-06-21   Culture,

Teru Teru Bozu


【Contents】
Can you guess what this white doll is!
Will it become sunny if a monk chants sutra? Monks can help you with weather related requests!
The origin of Teru Teru Bozu is terrifying.
Show your gratitude!

Rainy season

Can you guess what this white doll is!

“Teru Teru Bozu” is a custom that has been practiced since ancient times in Japan. It is said that the custom was brought from China, and we wish for good weather by making a doll out of paper, tissue, or white cloth. We hang it in the window where people can see it. You shouldn’t immediately draw a face on it, but if the sun is shining the next morning, show your gratitude by drawing a face on it and releasing it in a river with some sacred sake. If the sun isn’t shining, please discard it.

Rain and Thunder

Will it become sunny if a monk chants sutra? Monks can help you with weather related requests!

Rainmaking has been the work of monks in Japan. The main industry of Japan used to be agriculture and rain was crucial for this. In 800 a monk called “Ku-kai” was commanded by the emperor in Shinsen-en, Kyoto to create rain. Since then, more than 20 monks held this ritual until 1300. Among all the monks who tried the ritual, Jinkai is known as a specialist. He is also known as Amefurashi Jinkai and Amagoi monk, which means “rainmaking master”. There is even a myth that a red dragon appeared while he was creating rain in Shinsen-en.

Monk
A Japanese monk

The origin of Teru Teru Bozu is terrifying.

If a monk failed at controlling rain, his head was severed. In the past, people in a village were suffering from flooding due to continuous rain. They asked a monk to stop the rain, but he couldn’t. His head was then cut off for lying. People wrapped his head in a white cloth and hung it up to wish for good weather the next day.

Show your gratitude!

Please show your gratitude when you get good weather by putting a smiley face on the doll!

You might also like

AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.