Menpeki Kunen <> Wall Gazing


Wall-gazing Daruma <> Menpeki Kunen
.. .. .. .. .. .. 面壁九年の修行
mempeki kunen
I am sitting in front of my GAMEN ... the computer screen
for more than 10 years ...

Bodhidharma's years of meditation are represented with images of a seated monk facing a cave-wall called "Wall gazing" (Menpeki Daruma 面壁達磨). Related are depictions of the disciple Hui-ke presenting his cut-off arm (*Eka Dampi 慧可断臂) as a sign of his serious desire to study meditation with the Indian master.


Painting at the Shimane Art Museum

下村観山 Shimomura Kanzan

Zenbunka Small Painting


John Stevens about Zen Art

On occasion, Zen artists combine Daruma and enso into one image as we see in this piece (Figure 7) by Seiin Onjiku (1767 -1830). Normally with such an inscription: "Who said, 'My heart is like the autumn moon?"' The enso would be placed at the top of the paper; here, however, Seiin has set the moon-mind at the bottom to represent Daruma "wall-gazing" (mempeki), illumined by the moonbeams of enlightenment.

Further, the inscription reminds us that, despite vast differences in time and place, the minds of the Patriarch, the Chinese poet Han-shan (to whom the verse refers), the Japanese monk who created the painting, and that of the modern viewer are essentially the same. Totally unaffected, Seiin's brushwork is soft and warm and the bokki radiates gentle light.


Read all about Zen Painting by John Stevens here

Safekeep copy


CLICK for more photos .


A Doll from Hakata showing Daruma wallgazing


By this way, here are many more Hakata Dolls with Daruma and a few other famous figures. Do not miss a quick look here. Even Charlie Chaplin is here in the last row.


Bodhidharma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava between 440 and 470. His spiritual instructor was the monk Prajnatara. He told him to travel to China and he came there by ship somewhere between 475 to 520. Legend has it that he spent nine years in meditation, where he used to sit facing the rock wall of a cave that's about a mile from the Shaolin Temple. Thus he won the title "the wall-gazing brahmin".

"The buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There's no fragrance without a tree and no buddha without the mind. If there's a fragrance without a tree it's a different fragrance. If there's a buddha without your mind, it's a different buddha."

Just another Daruma

Photo : http://www.santosha.com/

Exhibition of Daruma Scrolls at the Japanese Temple
Choo-on-ji 潮音寺


Click on the .jpg here to see the pictures.

The Temple Choo-on-ji


The place in China where Daruma practiced austerities.

.. .. .. Look at more pictures here:


.. .. .. .. Some Paintings

See my Photo Album, Pictures Nr. 41 to 52, start here.

Wall-Gazing Daruma
by Mamiya Eiju (1871-1945)


Wall-Gazing Daruma
by Kozan Saisho (d.1901)

Enlightenment is the singular taste (of Zen).
Clouds may cover the moon (of illumination),
But soon spring returns in full force,
And nature flourishes like the evergreen pine.
Reside in high mountains and beside flowing streams,
traverse deep valleys and all will be well.

(signed) Kozan Saisho



The Practice of "Silent Illumination" (mo-chao)
by Master Sheng Yen

Quote from the middle, read it all here:

Bodhidharma himself is said to have taught, "If you wish to cast aside the false and return to true, concentrate and settle your mind in wall-gazing.
Self and other, the unenlightened and the saintly are all as one. Abide securely in this and do not stray."

The Hsin hsin ming (Inscription on Having Faith in the Mind) attributed to the third patriarch, Seng-ts'an (d. 606), states: "The two come when there is [a notion of] one[ness], so oneness also must not be adhered to. When a single thought does not arise, the myriad things are without defect." And again, "All wise ones throughout the ten directions penetrate this essential truth; this essential [moment of] truth is neither pressingly short nor lengthy. An instant of thought is ten thousand years."

Safekeep copy is here


Jiun Onko 1718-1808
Wall Gazing Daruma

Take a good look and discover
That one's true nature
Is an inexhaustible treasure
Transmitted from generation
To generation



Just for the record,
there is even a Sake ricewine called “menpeki kunen” .

I tried it of course and can highly recommend it after nine years of looking at the "gamen" of my computer.


. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

mempeki no sansuke dono ya satsuki ame

a servant in Zen meditation
faces a wall...
Fifth Month rain

In Issa's time sansuke was a manservant or an attendant in a bathhouse.
If he is a bathhouse servant, his "sitting Zen meditation facing a wall" (mempeki) might indicate a lack of customers; the Fifth Month rains have kept people away. "Fifth Month rain" (samidare) pertains to the old lunar calendar; it would be June rain in the present calendar.

David Lanoue


Read about Daruma and the courtesans sitting for ten years

nine years or ten <>
not even waiting for
things to come



Hakata Dolls / 博多人形 more Hakata Clay Dolls


- #menpeki #mempeki -


Courtesans and Onna Daruma

[ . BACK to Worldkigo TOP . ]

Daruma and the Courtesans,
Onna Daruma, Oiran and Daruma


Daruma as a lady, Daruma with the ladies...


Iwabuchi Onna-Daruma, Daruma as a Courtesan
... ... ... 岩淵の女達磨
Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)

The background showing a landscape between stations Kanbara and Yoshiwara on the Tôkaidô road, from the series Tôkaidô comparing popular figures with stations of the Tôkaidô (Tookaidoo).
Curtesy to Asian Art. Look at more of their phantastic prints.


Oiran (花魁, Oiran)
were high-class courtesans in Japan. The word "oiran" consists of two kanji, 花 meaning "flower", and 魁 meaning "leader" or "first." Cultural aspects of oiran traditions continue to be preserved to this day.

The oiran arose in the Edo period, 1600 - 1868. At this time, laws were passed restricting brothels to walled districts set some distance from the city center. In the major cities these were the Shimabara in Kyoto, the Shimmachi in Osaka, and in Edo, the Yoshiwara. These rapidly grew into large, self-contained "Pleasure Quarters" offering all manner of entertainments. Within, a courtesan's birth rank held no distinction but there arose a strict hierarchy according to beauty, character, educational attainments and artistic skills.
Among the oiran, the tayū (太夫 or 大夫, tayū) was considered the highest rank of courtesan or prostitute, and were considered suitable for the daimyo. Only the wealthiest and highest ranking could hope to patronise them.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. nanshoku、danshoku 男色 homosexuality in Edo .


ONNA DARUMA女達磨 was a popular theme.

Onna Daruma also comes as a Netsuke.

For the little secret under her skirt, see here:


We also have the story of a courtesan who commented about Daruma
"Well, he was sitting in quiet meditation for nine years, but we here have to sit and suffer in the Noisy Pleasure Quarters for more than ten years!"
The painter Hanabusa Itchoo made a picture of the curtesan, which became the model of the Princess Daruma Dolls.
. Hanabusa Itchoo, Itchō 英一蝶 Hanabusa Itcho . (1652 – 1724)
With a Daruma Painting.


Read about the courtesans in the Yoshiwara quarters of Old Edo and their connection with our Daruma.

Another courtesan that Bunkoo speaks about is Rizen. Sold to the Oomiya brothel by her husband, a pharmacist by the name of Kuwanaya Yasoo, Rizen "had a kind heart, was deeply compassionate, and professed a strong faith in Boddhisatva Samantabhadra (Fugen bosatsu)." Bunkoo presents her as being more devout than most of the Buddhist monks.He reminds his listeners, who may have been shocked at his associating a prostitute with a boddhisatva, that Samantabhadra, while riding a white elephant, had actually revealed himself to his devotees in the form of a prostitute.

Bunkoo also spoke aboutr a Buddhist monk of the Heian period, Shookuu (910-1007), who taught that "if one wants to worship Samantabhadra, he should go to Harima to see the singing and dancing of the courtesans." Bunkoo's conjunction of boddhisatvas and courtesans was meant to shock his listeners and also to satirically expose hypocritical Buddhist monks.

In his strong defense and praise of Rizen, Bunkoo argues that

"Daruma Buddha faced the wall sitting in meditation for nine years. But the courtesan Rizen spent not nine, but ten years confined to her place of business, facing the wall, season after season all day long."

Bunkoo admitted that his inspiration for this insight had come from Hanabusa Itchoo. The artist had employed the same type of contrast in his paintings. He once painted the face of a courtesan on the body of the Daruma.
This painting of a female Daruma, holding a fan and tobacco pouch and dressed like a courtesan, was a visual expression of the incongruity and contrast of which Bunkoo was so fond. On Hanabusa's painting were written the words: "What is nine years of suffering
compared with ten years of prostitution?"

Read this great story about
Violating Censorship: Humor and Virulence in the Popular Writings of Baba Bunkoo (1715-1759)
William J. Farge Loyola University, New Orleans

Safety Copy of this article

- - - - -

. tamagouri, tamago uri 玉子売り / 卵売り vendor of eggs .
selling boiled eggs around Yoshiwara


Civilized Daruma by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi




Daruma/Kannon by Seki Yuho (1900-1982)

The two pillars of Buddhism are insight—symbolized by the Grand Patriarch Daruma-and compassion—represented by the Goddess Kannon.
The mark of a true Zen master is to be able to identify with both the masculine and feminine aspects of Buddha-nature, and indeed such great teachers as Hakuin, Sengai, and Tesshu were able to paint Daruma and Kannon equally well. In this painting we have both Zen teachers together, a real treat.

About the Artist
Seki Yuho was born in Fukuoka. He became abbot of the major Zen temple Eigenji in 1956, and frequently traveled overseas to give instruction in Zen. Yuho wrote a number of books, including one entitled Die Once, and You Won't Die Again. He was a proflic Zen artist, both calligraphy and painting.


Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806)

A seller of fan-papers ( jigami-uri ) and a young beauty from an untitled series of eight prints published c1797 by Tsuruya Kiemon. The idealised itinerant merchant has black fan-shaped lacquer boxes perched on his shoulder. In his hand he holds a fan with an image of Daruma eyeing the couple.

Look at this detail of the Daruma enjoying himself
(from Farland Collection)

. jigami uri 地紙売り in Edo .
jigami uri 地紙売り kagema boys selling paper for fans and talking about kabuki


Let us read a paragraph from DARUMA
by Neill McFarland.

A common theme is the pairing of Daruma with a woman. Typically in the woodblock prints, the woman is identified as a courtesan. Young, beautiful and gorgeously attired, she is demure,but also emotionless - perhaps, one could say,as calm and self-sufficient as a Zen monk. Daruma, on the other hand, traditionally so stolid, here is the epitome of discomfiture. His gargling eyes, otherwise symbols of outward alertness and inner awareness, now bug at th eunaccustomed distraction and attraction of the female presence.
His whole demeanor suggests rather incriminatingly that, for all his vaunted self-discipline, this most austere personage must content with a residue of human passion.

Daruma is also present with courtesans not as a second principal figure, but as a secondary detail in the total composition - a picture on the wall, a decoration on a garment, a tumbler doll, on a fan ...

During the Edo period, the frustration of living under repressive conditions pushed frivolous tendencies to the level of social satire, and it also contributed to an obsessive interest in amourous liaisons with the enchanting denizens of the pleasure quaters. It is not surprising, that Daruma, seemingly so in control, became an object of parody and ribaldry. Given his ubiquity and the stereotyped character of his presentations, he was an obvious canditate.

H. Neill MacFarland
The founder of zen in Japanese art and popular culture

I take this chance to express my thanks to Farland Sensei for this wonderful book, which has been my stepping stone to my real and now virtual Daruma Museum.
Most of the following illustrations are from the Book of Farland Sensei.
- Books about Daruma


Picture of Daruma and Geisha
by Fuji no Yuki Kaikei Soga

演劇博物館所蔵 Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum


Okumura Masanobu 1686 - 1764 奥村正信

Reclining somewhat apprehensively on a huge leaf, Daruma is propelled across the water by a courtesan and a kabuki actor famous for female roles.
Ink Sketch. Farland Collection.


Suzuki Harunobu 1743 - 1807 鈴木晴信

In an uncharacteristic display of vanity, Daruma gazes at his reflection in the water and daintly tweezes some stray hairs from his beard,while the young woman poles the boat.
Ink Sketch. Farland Collection

Look at a colored version of this hanga HERE !


Giving Daruma a smoke.
Present only as a painting on a hanging scroll in the tokonoma, Daruma is stirred to life by a courtesan. As he leans toward her, she turns and offers him her pipe.
Ink Sketch. Farland Collection

Daruma with a courtesan. Unknown artist. 17th century.
hanga01 Daruma
Ink Sketch. Farland Collection.

- Shared by Kenza Saadi Elmandjra -
Joys of Japan, Facebook, August 2012


達磨と美人図 - Courtesan plucking Daruma's beard
Bairinsai, Setsuzan, fl. 19th c - 梅林斎雪山
- source : content.cdlib.org/ark -


Takeda Harunobu 竹田春信

Daruma in drag.
Satire and commedy reach their peak in the exchange of clothes between Daruma and a courtesan.
Farland Collection.


Kawanabe Gyoosai (1831 - 89) 河鍋暁斎
Kawanabe Kyosai

House of pleasure.
Though not a woodblock print, this painting belongs to the genre of ukiyo-e parodies. As the subject of a mural, Daruma is an embrrassed but curiously attentive guest at a wild party in the pleasure quaters.

Farland Collection
... //www2.ocn.ne.jp/

More about Kawanabe Kyosai

In the Daruma Museum

Daruma with Lady, Kawanabe Kyosai

Kawanabe Kyosai (Kawanabe Gyoosai, Kyoosai) 河鍋暁斎.
Painter, (1831-1889)


Here he is enjoying himself with the ladies in Kutani Pottery

More about this in my story of Kutaniyaki and Daruma


Things found on the Way
Nice Gallery of Hanga with Folk Art Themes, one of them a Lady Daruma Doll

〔1〕 三春の木馬(福島県) http://www.showa-corp.jp/toshakan/gallery/ita/ita01.html
〔2〕 花巻の鶏(岩手県)
Chicken from Iwate
〔3〕 加茂の猫(新潟県)
Cat from Niigata
〔4〕 富山の獅子頭(富山県)
Lion Heads from Fukuyama
〔5〕 古賀の子守り(長崎県)
Children from Nagasaki
〔6〕 三条の鳩持ち(新潟県)
Dove from Niigata

〔7〕 竹田の女達磨(大分県)
Lady Daruma from Oita

〔8〕 鳥取のきびから姉さま(鳥取県) Tottori

I will write about the Princess Daruma Dolls in another story.


Ishikawa Toyonobu (1711–85)
Courtesan Dancing to Daruma’s Accompaniment

Among the most popular subjects in mitate-e are pairings of courtesans with religious figures such as Daruma (Bodhidharma in Chinese), the Indian monk who transmitted Chan (Zen in Japanese) Buddhism to China, as seen at the top of this post. The juxtaposition of this ascetic with a courtesan of the pleasure quarters humorously critiqued religion as well as the culture of the ruling samurai class who boasted of their dedication to Zen. It also underscores the core values of the genre known as ukiyo-e (or ‘pictures of the floating world’), to which this painting belongs. The word ukiyo (‘transitory world’) was derived from Buddhism, referring to the ephemeral nature of this world. By replacing the character for uki 憂き (meaning ‘transitory’) with a homonym 浮meaning ‘floating,’ a profound Buddhist idea was turned upside down to express the attitude of joie de vivre characteristic of the pleasure quarters.

Zen Buddhism teaches that anyone is able to reach enlightenment through simple, banal activities such as chopping wood or taking naps. Here, the courtesan’s knowledge of the ‘floating world’ (ukiyo 浮世) is compared to Daruma’s enlightened realization of the ‘evanescence of the world’ (ukiyo 憂き世). It also suggests that one can find enlightenment, or release, in the carnal activities of the pleasure quarters. Pious Daruma playing the shamisen, a popular musical instrument among courtesans and geisha, further increases the wry humor.

The poem accompanying the image is by Old Priest Rinsen in the Jōkyō era (1684–88).
It reads:

Why have you come from the west?
Don’t ask and cause me to regret it.
In playing the shamisen, the bridges do not count.
The heart alone sings:
Is it the plectrum or the strings
Which makes the music?

Tr. Kuniko Brown

source : pacificasiamuseum.wordpress.com


Nighthawks, yotaka 夜鷹

The cheapest prostitutes, on small boats by the rivers and walking the streets with a straw mat, were called "nighthawks (night hawks)" yotaka or streetwalkers (sooka).
The word "yotaka" refers usually to these girls, not to the bird.
Since the Showa period, nighthawk is used for 宵っ張り yoitsupari, a night owl or a
night person.
"yotaka soba 夜鷹蕎麦" means a buckwheat stall for midnight customers.

. Edo Yatai 江戸屋台 Food stalls in Edo .
The most famous three ones were for
Sushi, Tenpura and Soba buckwheat noodles.

Oumayagashi by Hiroshige

It is a murky winter night as the Oumayagashi ferry approaches its landing on the west bank of the Sumida just north of the Asakusa rice granaries of the bakufu. Against this somber background, the white faces, red sashes and blue head-towels of the two women in the bow of the ferry stand out in bright relief.
These are yotaka, "night hawks," the lowest class of street prostitutes. They are accompanied by their gyu, perhaps a father or brother, who served as bodyguard and tout. This scene is the closest Hiroshige ever gets to depicting the harsh realities of lower-class life in Edo, and he does so in a way calculated not to offend.
© Robyn Buntin of Honolulu


yuujo 遊女 "woman to play with", cheap prostitutes  

- - - - - Yosa Buson - - - - -

hototogisu uta yomu yuujo kikoyu naru

I hear a curtesan
composing poetry

Tr. Crowley


Buson had spent some time in Sanuki, Shikoku in 1766 and on the way back visited the famous port town of Murotsu, Muro no Tsu 室津 in Harima no Kuni, now Hyogo prefecture.
The town was famous for its prostitutes on boats.

source and more photos : kamnavi.jp/log/ugayuujo.htm

ume saite obi kau muro no yuujo kana  

plums are blossoming
and the prostitutes of Muro
buy new sashes . . .

Tr. Gabi Greve

asagiri ya muro no ageya no natto jiru

morning mist -
the Natto soup at the brothel
of Muro

Tr. Gabi Greve

Murotsu Kaido 室津街道 the Murotsu Road
source : murotsukaidou

ageya 揚屋 House of assignation, where patrons made appointments with courtesans in the pleasure quarters, precursor of the geisha teahouse.
MORE vocabulary about the Geisha world:
source : www.eurekaencyclopedia.com


wakatake ya hashimoto no yuujo ariya nashi

source : ameblo.jp/poire-w-pere/entry
Buson - Wakatake ”若竹図”

At Kyoto Kawasaki there was a place famous for bamboo called HASHIMOTO, and many boats passed the river Yodogawa, where famous courtesans waited for customers on the left bank ..
But the HASHIMOTO of Buson might not be there, rather coming from a Noh theater play 江口のはしもと Eguchi no Hashimoto.
Buson might have been wondering if even nowadays famous geisha would be there near the Hachiman shrine of Hashimoto.
Even the famous monk Saigyo had been visiting this place and wrote waka poems about it.
Wakatake bamboo might also have reminded Buson of his own mother.

- quote -
Eguchi (江口) is a Noh play of the third category, written by Zeami around a fragment (the harlot's sermon) by Kanami. The play combines two legends, one related of the holy man Shōkū (concerning the identity of the harlot of Mura with the bodhisattva Fugen) and the other related of the monk Saigyō (the admonishment of the harlot of Eguchi).

A travelling monk arrives by night at the port of Eguchi. Seeing a cairn, he enquires about its origin and is told that it commemorates the Lady of Eguchi, a former harlot who was considered to be a manifestation of the bodhisattva Fugen. (During a rainstorm, the 12th-century monk Saigyō asked for shelter at her house, but was refused entry. He reproached her with an impromptu poem, to which she made an effective reply, hinging on a Buddhist interpretation of the words "a moment's refuge"; she then admitted him and engaged in a long conversation.)
The travelling monk thoughtfully recites Saigyō's poem to himself, and is overheard by a passing woman, who asks him to follow it with the harlot's reply. She tells the monk not to believe the gossip about her; when she vanishes they realise that she is, in fact, the ghost of the harlot of Eguchi.
A villager then tells them the story of Shōkū, who longed to worship the living Fugen, and was directed in a dream to seek the Lady of Eguchi.
Fascinated, the monk begins to repeat a sutra by her grave. A boat, brightly moonlit, appears, bearing the Lady along with two singing girls. They sing of the unhappiness of mortals ensnared in illusion and condemned to be reborn. In conclusion, they remind the monk that "all things are a moment's refuge"; the Lady reveals her identity as Fugen, and ascends into the clouds.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

young bamboo -
will the courtesans still be there
at Hashimoto ?

Tr. Gabi Greve

- Chris Drake wrote:
Eguchi is on the west bank of the Yodo River just north of Osaka and far downstream from Hashimoto, which is on the east bank of the river not far south of Kyoto. Buson elsewhere mentions the 'courtesans in Eguchi and Hashimoto,' i.e., the courtesans at two spots where there used to be elegant women singers and dancers who sometimes also took male customers. Buson is referring to Eguchi no Kimi, who appears in the noh play 'Eguchi' as well as to other famous women performers who danced and sang along the Yodo River centuries before. In this hokku, he is praising the beautiful young bamboos in Hashimoto in his day, and deep inside one grove of young bamboos there he sees houses he knows to be the houses where courtesans work. Of course he knows that the Hashimoto courtesans of his day aren't well educated and can't, like the famous Eguchi no Kimi, exchange waka poems with the famous poet-monk Saigyo, or refuse visitors, as Eguchi no Kimi refused Saigyo. He knows that the ancient courtesans in Hashimoto are gone forever, and that the present women in this house are probably just sex workers, but he wonders if there could possibly, as in a dream, be the real, classical women performers of Hashimoto inside the houses. His question is probably rhetorical: of course it is impossible, and yet, and yet.... So the tone seems to be elegiac.
He is half-seeing a vision of ancient houses. The bamboos grow equally beautifully year after year, but the human world is different, and the elegant, educated, artistic performers of Hashimoto (and Eguchi downstream) are gone forever. The bamboos suggest time passing, returning every year and continually fresh and alive as a species, so they are both beautiful and cruel, since time causes humans to die and disappear. The bamboos might also suggest that the modern young women in the houses are not allowed to grow freely and become naturally beautiful like the bamboos because of the poverty that forces them to be sex workers.

Buson has a nice haiga of this hokku that shows several thin bamboos standing in front of two or possibly three houses.
(see above Wakatake)

The last line of the hokku refers to a waka by Narihira in the 9th episode of 'Ise Tales' (Ise-monogatari).
There the protagonist, exiled to the east, sees a bird on the Sumida River and asks the bird whether the woman he loves who lives back in the capital (and whose clandestine love for him seems to be the reason for his exile) is still alive or not. Buson, however, uses only one 'ya.' This allusion suggests Buson is asking whether the famous women performers of Hashimoto are still alive or not. Unfortunately the answer is surely -- except in the time of visions and noh plays -- no....) Buson may see himself as a modern Narihira or Saigyo, and he seems to wish a visionary woman would appear from out of the distant past -- or the other world. The bamboos are a moving border between this world and the other.
- source : Chris Drake , facebook 2017 -

. Buson travelling the river Yodogawa 淀川 - Fushimi .

- - - - -

. Fugen Bosatsu 普賢菩薩 Samantabhadra .   

Kawachi-me no yado ni inu hi ya kiji no koe

the Kawachi weaver girls
are not at home -
voice of the pheasants

Tr. Gabi Greve

Kawachime refers to the girls who had to weave cotton, since the Kawachi-plain 河内平野 (now Osaka plain) was famous for cotton plants.
the "voice of a pheasant" ould be a man calling for his girl . . .

. WKD : Cotton from Kawachi .


dakikago ya hitoyo fushimi no sasamegoto

Sleep with "daki kago"!
As with a one-night harlot at Fushimi
Exchanging lovers' talks.

- Comment by Shoji Kumano

. "hug basket" dakikago 抱籠 .
kigo for all summer

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .

sasamegoto ささめごと promises and secrets exchanged by lovers
- and
“Murmured Conversations”
Muromachi-period (1333−1568) poetic treatise on renga (linked verse) written by the Tendai monk Shinkei.

. harusame ya doosha no kimi ga sasamegoto .
yuku haru ya doosha no kimi no sasame goto


keisei, 傾城, another expression for a lady of the night.
And some HAIKU

tama-arare yotaka wa tsuki ni kaerumeri

hailstones –
in moonlight, the nighthawks
come home

Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738)
(Tr. Michael Haldane)

kawahori ni yahochi mo sorori-sorori kana

like the bats
the nighthawk too
slow and sure

Kobayashi Issa
(Tr. David Lanoue)


Utagawa Kuniyoshi
igned: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga 一勇斎国芳画

"Zazenmame" from the series Daruma's buffonery (Doke Daruma Asobi)

Actors caricatured as Daruma (rare).
After the imposition of a ban on actor prints in 1842, Kuniyoshi produced numerous humorous designs with thinly disguised actors’ portraits. In this series, well known actors are portrayed as Daruma, without any mention of their names. This series is listed as number 191 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).

According to the Kuniyoshi Project this publisher is Hori Masa. There are other prints in this series which carry a different publisher's seal.
Marks says that this publisher's seal only appeared in 1849.

Actors Ichimura Uzaemon XII (right), Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII (center) and Onoe Kikujirō II (left)

- source : woodblockprints.org

. Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 .


More ONNA DARUMA in my photo album

Scroll: Daruma with Lady

"Onna Daruma" by Toba Hiromaru 鳥羽広丸

"Onna Daruma" by Yamahigashi Kyooden 山東京伝

. senryu about Yoshiwara 吉原 pleasure quarters in Edo .

. Yoshiwara Nana Fushigi 吉原七不思議
The Seven Wonders of Yoshiwara .

. - - - Welcome to Edo 江戸 ! .





Satsuma Ware

. Yakimono 焼物 / Setomono 瀬戸物
pottery, crockery .


Satsuma Ware 薩摩焼 Satsumayaki

. . . CLICK here for more Photos  !

- quote -
Japanese Immortals On Satsuma Pottery
Among the many images and designs that are found on Satsuma pottery, vases, plates and figures are those of ancient wise men, versed in the arts of knowledge, magic and power.

These people are referred to as the Japanese Immortals, men who were of such greatness that they were unable to die, forced to live a life of study, worship and poverty. The Japanese symbol for Immortal 仙人 is made up from 2 other elements meaning "mountain person". Often, the immortal would be a person who had lived in the mountains which were revered by the Japanese as places of magic and awe.

The Japanese immortals are depicted frequently on prints and in paintings from early Japan, right up to this day. The 3 gods, Daikoku, Fukurokuju and Ebisu are pictured frequently playing a game of Go. Also deities such as the Seven Gods of Good Fortune or luck were depicted, their promise to the people of the world was of endless riches, wealth and good health.

As with other Satsuma pottery, the images of these immortals features on a number of different items. Satsuma Vases are lavished with the images of the immortals either together in a group or often on their own. Although smaller items such as the satsuma buttons were usually decorated with flowers or plants, the faces of the gods were also hand painted on to them with enamel paint.

As with most religious or mythical imagery, the satsuma immortals are shown as images that convey good luck, fortune, peace of happiness. They are shown as figures of peace who are fun loving, meditative or at comfort with each other and the rest of the world. Possibly images that were supposed to reflect upon the owners of the satsumaware items.
- Look at more photos here:
- source : satsuma-pottery.com/japanese-immortals...-

. sennin 仙人と伝説 Legends about Immortals .


- quote:
Satsuma ware is something between porcelain and pottery. It is produced at lower temperatures than porcelain. Satsuma ware originates from the seventeenth century. The prince of Satsuma in the Southern area of Kyushu Island had established a kiln with the help of Korean potters. Satsuma ware from this time was made of brown clay. In the late eighteenth century Satsuma was so popular that clay from the Kyushu Island was brought to Awata near Kyoto to produce Satsuma ware - now known as Kyoto Satsuma ware.

Most of the Kyoto Satsuma ware was produced for export to Western countries.
The characteristics of Satsuma ware are rich decorations with gold and polychrome colors on a soft, ivory-colored, crackled glaze. Typical for the decoration of Satsuma ware is the use of Gosu blue, a highly saturated blue glaze. The technique of Gosu blue was developed in the nineteenth century.


Satsuma vase
with a Daruma design


Daruma by Chin Jukan
with two sculptural boys on sides of Daruma, two boys and an old man, and one boy crawling on top of Daruma's head. The Okimono has a traditional Satsuma craquelure.
5 1/2" tall x 6 1/4" wide x 5" deep.

- http://www.ebay.com/- okanonan -


The ancient Japanese province of Satsuma was in the southern most part of the island of Kyushu. Its association with the production of pottery and earthenware was well known by the early 17th century. It was at this time that master artisans from Korea were introduced following a series of invasions by Japan of Korea and the impress of artists into service for the Satsuma Shogunate.

This "freshette" of talent was applied to the simple but beautiful vessels for the tea ceremony and subsequently grew in fame throughout Japan's aristocracy. Most of the early Satsuma was simply made and featured a cream colored body with a slightly yellowish glaze that was finely crackled, a hallmark of collectible Satsuma to this day. Highly prized among the noble houses in Japan these fine wares were noticed by the earliest western visitors to Japan.

By the end of the 18th century, Satsuma production had not included porcelains, and was restricted to the local clays and earthenware of the Chawan (tea bowl). However, in neighboring Arita potters had been making finely enameled porcelain wares for many years, primarily for export. In an effort to be more competitive Satsuma missions were formed to scour Japan for techniques of decorating Satsuma ware. It was in Kyoto where these missions were introduced to the enamel colors that had been in use for over a hundred years. These techniques were brought back to Satsuma and revolutionized their wares. By the same token, Kyoto studios began to produce fine, artistic "Satsuma" ware.

Copyright: 2003 - 2006..U Lian Collection
All Rights Reserved


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. . . CLICK here for Photos and English information !


kurosatsuma, kuro-satsuma 黒薩摩 black Satsuma ware
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Food and Dishes from Kagoshima / Satsuma

. Satsuma, Kagoshima Folk Art .


- #satsumaware #satsumapottery #kurosatsuma -


Telephone Cards

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Telephone Cards テレフォン カード

This is one from Starbucks, sold in Japan since 2004.
It was a great collectors item.


This one is from the Daruma Temple at Nishi Izu.

Here is my Daruma Story about this temple
. . . Daruma-ji Nishi-Izu


Daruma and the Beckoning Cat
From Dai-Ichi Kogyo Daigaku, University


one more is here
From TV Nihon


Takasagi Engi Daruma

Photo from my friend Ishino.


my Photo Album with Small Things

Part 2
 Telephone Cards テレフォン カード
and Train Cards with Daruma





Moskitoes and Daruma

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Moskitoes and Daruma


a mosquito
aiming noisily -
the sound of one hand


How can Daruma meditate in peace with a moskito hovering around?

Haiku-poet Chibi has this to say:

my old ears
hear less and less -


Daruma with the pestering mosquito (moskito) has been the subject of many Kutani pottery pieces.

Have a look at many more at the Kutani album:
Nr. 49, 52, 56, 57 and more.

And my story about tokkuri, Sake pourers with Daruma
. . Tokkuri 徳利  and Daruma

If anyone can offer an explanation about Daruma and the moskito, I would be much obliged.

Let us not forget, with all these mosquitoes around, Daruma needs a
Flywhisk (hossu 払子) !!!!!


A little folding screen New Year Decoration


. mosquito, ka 蚊 - the KIGO .  

the sound of one hand clapping
. KOAN and HAIKU .

Kano Sansetsu’s Solitary Encounter
(Harvard Museum)



Seven Gods of Good Luck

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Seven Gods of Good Luck 七福神 Shichifukujin 


Yamashina-E Picture
Daruma and YAMASHINA Paintings - Yamashina-E

Benten 弁天
Bishamonten 毘沙門天
Daikoku 大黒
Ebisu 恵比寿
Fukurokujuu 福禄寿
Hotei 布袋
Juroojin 寿老人


Quote from Mark Schumacher:
The Shichifukujin are an eclectic group of deities from Japan, India, and China. Only one is native to Japan (Ebisu). Three are from India (Daikokuten, Bishamonten, and Benzaiten) and three from China (Hotei, Jurojin, and Fukurokuju).

The mystery of number seven has enraptured the Japanese as well. Ancient Japan was founded around seven districts. In Japanese folklore, there are seven treasures and seven deities of good luck (the topic of this story). Japanese Buddhists believe people are reincarnated only seven times, and seven weeks of mourning are prescribed following death.

The list goes on and on -- the seven ups and eight downs of life (Daruma san, you remember), the seven autumn flowers, the seven spring herbs, the seven types of red pepper, the seven transformations, and the popular 7-5-3 festival held each November for children, in which special Shinto rites are performed to formally welcome girls (age 3) and boys (age 5) into the community. Girls (age 7) are welcomed into womanhood and allowed to wear the obi (decorative sash worn with kimono).

Mark Schumacher has many more details and pictures
. . . Mark Schumacher

Link about these seven deities.


The belief in the seven gods of good luck may have started in the Kamakura period as the belief in Ebisu, who had been introduced from India together with Daikoku and Benten. In the Muromachi period, these three were revered together.
Next from India came Bishamonten and then from China Hotei, Fukurooju and Juroojin.

These seven gods are gathered in one common pilgrimmage for the New Year.
At the beginning of the Edo period Tokugawa Ieyasu started the first set of seven temples from Temple Kanei-Ji in the Ueno area. During the more peaceful time of the seventh Shogun Yoshimune it turned into more of a festivity and tourism and spread over all of Japan.

Nowadays, people visit these temples often as a kind of hiking entertainment or stamp ralley, but it never lost in its popularity.

visiting the temples of the seven gods of good luck
shichifukujin mairi 七福神参り
kigo for the New Year

Saijiki of Ceremonies in Japan

From the Daruma Museum
Seven Gods of Good Luck as Daruma Dolls 七福神だるま


Give us our daily food:
. Figure waffles (ningyooyaki 人形焼) .

Arare rice crackers 七福神あられ
source : o.tabelog.com

Shichifukujin Ramen soup 七福神 ラーメン
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Shichifukujin Manju rice dumplings 七福神 饅頭
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


.. .. .. Daikoku

. Daikoku Ten 大黒天 .

DAIKOKU Daruma Doll 大黒達磨

© Hisamaro, Seven Goods of Good Luck

Click HERE for photos !


... EBISU Ebisu えびす 恵比寿  ...

Ebisu from Tamada Mura Village.


Look at this marvellous Clay Doll of an Ebisu

And here is a papermachee doll of an Ebisu-Daruma


Ebisu is native to Japan, his name in the Shinto Pantheon is Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami.
Many shrines throughout Japan have a festival of the First Ebisu Market (hatsu Ebisu 初恵比寿)during the New Year celebrations.

Click HERE for more photos !

On this link, you can see more pictures about the First Ebisu Market.

Great Festival at Tooka Ebisu Shrine
十日恵比寿神社 正月大祭
Daruma Dolls are sold, of course. And look at some pretty Geisha on this link.



This Ebisu gets a new nose for the New Year.

はなかけ恵比寿, 鼻かけえびす hanakake Ebisu

Click HERE for more photos !

(鼻欠け恵比寿初笑い)Hanakake Ebisu Hatsu Warai

Ebisu is always ready to laugh.
The first laugh, first laughter, hatsu-warai 初笑い, is of course the best (and a kigo for the New Year).

The date is January 20. First he gets his nose re-done, and when this is done, all start laughing!

Click HERE for more photos !


............................................................. Two haiku by ISSA

kata chichi o nigiri nagara ya hatsu warai

while grasping
mama's breast...
the year's first smile

koijiki ya morai nagara no hatsu warai

a beggar receives
alms, the year's first

Tr. David Lanoue

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

© Photo : www.wbs.co.jp/blog4/archives/cat51/index.html

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

still half asleep
on the same pillow -
our fist smile

Gabi Greve, January 1, 2007
LOOK here !


First Ebisu, Hatsu-Ebisu is also the name of a brand of Sake. It looks quite festive in its red and white decorations.


. Hotei 布袋 Pu-Tai .


. BENTEN 弁天(べんてん)


. Bishamon-Ten . 毘沙門天 .


. Takarabune with the seven gods of good luck .
宝船と七福神 Treasure Ship

. My Folk Toys and the Seven Gods of Good Luck

Clay bells and other items of the Seven Gods 七福神
source : hisamaro
MORE shichifukujin goods
source : by hisamaro


Die sieben Glücksgötter (Shichi Fukushin)
Besondere Gruppierung "ausländischer" Gottheiten.

Daikokuten, Bishamonten und Benten sind indische Gottheiten, Ebisu ist eine rein japanische Gottheit. Hotei und Fukurokujuu sind chinesischen Ursprungs.

Seit der Muromachi-Zeit besonders von Geschäftsleuten verehrt. Sechs männliche und eine weibliche (Benten) Gottheit. Entweder alle in einem Tempel aufgestellt oder für jede Gottheit ein eigener Tempel, die in den Neujahrstagen alle abgepilgert werden müssen. In einigen Tempeln befinden sich sieben besonders große, auffallend geformte Natursteine, welche die Gottheiten darstel~len.

Oft zusammen auf einem Glücksschiff (takarabune) dargestellt, auf dessen Segel das Schriftzeichen für "Schätze" (takara) steht. Dieses Bild ist besonders am Neujahrsfest glückbringend.

Eventuell aus dem alten Brauch des "Siebenmal Anbeten" (nanado mairi) entstanden, bei dem zum Gionfest in Kyooto an einem Tempel sieben Mal hintereinander ein Gebet gesprochen werden mußte, damit es wirksam wurde. Die Zahl "SIEBEN" ist seit alter Zeit mit Glück verbunden. Es gab auch den Brauch, sieben Statuen des Hotei nebeneinander aufzustellen.
In der Edo-Zeit am 2. Januar legte man sich ein Bild der Glücksgötter unter das Kopfkissen, um einen guten ersten Traum im neuen Jahr zu haben.

Die meisten Gottheiten wurden bei den Ten bereits besprochen, siehe dort.


Rein japanische Gottheit. E bedeutet Liebe, BI bedeutet Schönheit und SU bedeutet alltägliche Notwendigkeiten. Ältester Sohn (Hiruko) der japanischen Gottheiten Izanagi und Izanami no Mikoto. Als Kind auf einem Schilfboot ausgesetzt, kommt in der Gegend von Osaka an Land; daher auch Gottheit der Fischer.
Im buddhistischen Pantheon als Inkarnation der Kannon, vom Welt~berg des Südens, Fudaraku, kommend.
Zusammen mit Daikokuten als Doppelfigur.
Mit Entenmuschel-Mütze; in Jagdgewändern.
Meist rundes, lächelndes Gesicht.
Mit großem Fisch und langer Angelrute.


Sehr ähnlich wie Juroojin. Verkörperung des südlichen Polarsterns. Taoistische Gottheit aus China. Gewährt Reichtum, langes Leben und gute Karriere.
Kam in der Edo-Zeit anstelle von Kichijooten zu den sieben Glücksgöttern.
Alter Mann mit hohem kahlem Kopf, Stab in der Hand. In chinesi~sche Gewänder gekleidet. Manchmal mit einer Bildrolle oder einem chinesischen Fächer. Gefolgt von einem tausendjährigen Kranich.

source : woodblockprints.org
Shaving the Head with a Ladder - Fukurokuju and Daikoku
by Toyokuni 豊国画

Tenaga and Ashinaga shaving Fukurokuju

. Kawanabe Kyosai .

. Legends:
Tenaga Ashinaga 手長足長 "long arms, long legs" .


Chinesischer Zenpriester Kaishi (Kihi) des Tempels Shimeizan; lebte in der T'ang-Zeit. Wanderte bettelnd durchs Land, spielte mit den Kindern, trug seine Habe in einem großen Sack mit sich herum. Inkarnation des Miroku Bosatsu. Er lehrte, daß ein Geist frei von Sorgen und ein Herz frei von Wünschen wertvoller sei als alle weltlichen Schätze dieser Erde.
Alter, lachender, kahlköpfiger Priester-Schelm. Offene Kleidung, mit herausragendem dickem Bauch. Mit großem Sack, auf dem er oft ausruht; in der Hand einen chinesischen Fächer.

Sehr ähnlich wie Fukurokujuu. Entstanden aus einer chinesischen Gottheit des Taoismus. Verkörperung des südlichen Polarsterns (im Chinesischen: Stern des alten Mannes). Verkörpert langes Leben ohne Krankheit und Tod. Neben ihm steht oft ein Hirsch.
Mit hohem, kahlem Kopf, langem Bart. Mit langem Stab und einem chinesischen Fächer oder einer Schriftrolle in der Hand. Begleitet von einem 2500 Jahre alten Hirsch. Das Geweih junger Hirsche galt als Medizin für langes Leben.

.Buddhastatuen ... Who is Who   

Ein Wegweiser zur Ikonografie
von japanischen Buddhastatuen

Gabi Greve, 1994


A takarabune (Seven Lucky Gods Treasure Boat)
at Anyoji Temple in Kawasaki

Turning to Okinawa and its rituals in search of a happier new year
Okinawan religion, while adopting some aspects of Japanese Shinto, Chinese Confucianism and Buddhism, remains essentially animistic, and spiritual power resides mainly in ancestors and in Nature — especially in trees, but most especially in stone.
source : Japan Times, January 2012


shichi fu ku 七 二 九 7 2 9
a pun with the 29th day of the seventh month
July 29 is considered a special day for the Gods of Good Luck.

So a special dish is prepared on this day to thank them.

fukujinzuku 福神漬け
Pickles for the Gods of Good Luck

..... one of the most popular kinds of pickles in Japanese cuisine, commonly used as a relish for Japanese curry. In fukujinzuke, vegetables including daikon, eggplant, lotus root and cucumber are finely chopped, then pickled in a base that is flavored with soy sauce. The end result has a crunchy texture.

The name originates from the tale of Seven Lucky Gods. In homage to the name, some varieties of fukujinzuke consists of seven different kind of vegetables, adding sword beans (鉈豆, natamame), perilla, shiitake mushrooms and/or sesame seeds to the four main ingredients.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Tsukemono 漬物 漬け物 Japanese Pickles .


. Shichi Fuku Kappa Jin 七福河童神 Seven Kappa Gods of Good Luck .

. Folk Toys and the Seven Gods of Good Luck

. First Dream (hatsuyume 初夢) .

. Shichikoozan mairi 七高山詣 Shichikozan pilgrimage.
New Year in Nagasaki