Fukui: Pyramid-shaped Daruma Dolls Popular among Test-Takers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tadahiko Enomoto and his wife Naoe paint pyramid shaped daruma in Obama, Fukui Prefecture.

OBAMA, Fukui — Typical daruma dolls are made of papier-mache and are usually round. But one art center is making some uniquely shaped pieces. Pyramid-shaped daruma are popular among students preparing for entrance exams because they “sit still and never tilt.”

Daruma made of resin were first created in 1967. Currently, Tadahiko Enomoto, 75, and his wife Naoe, 64, make them at the art center. Resin of various colors is poured into containers and dried while paying close attention to factors such as temperature and humidity. Once solidified, the dolls are shaped with different types of knives and the corners are rounded with a machine.

Finally, the eyebrows and mouths are painted on to complete them. The daruma have diverse facial expressions. Some have their eyes wide-open, while others have thick eyebrows, a beard or lips pursed in a frown. There is not only the typical grim expression seen on daruma, but also smiles, which are unique among such dolls.

So-called gokaku daruma used to pray for passing grades on exams are purified at a temple in the city, and are priced at ¥1,300 for a 3-centimeter-tall doll and ¥2,860 for a 4-centimeter-tall doll. They are only available at the store.