Kintaro the Golden Boy Okiagari Roly-poly Doll
Kintaro is a character of Japanese folklore. His main characteristic is his enormous strength. Once upon a time there was a healthy tireless chubby boy. He only wore a bib with the Chinese ideogram "Gold" written on it and he always carried his ax with him. He was living with his mother in the wood of the Kintoki mountain, where he could play all day long with his animal friends. He was able to uproot trees and to break stones on his own. As an adult he learnt martial arts and became a recognised and respected leader. There is a shrine close to Tokyo dedicated to Kintaro: people can see there a huge rock split in two, the Golden boy is said to have broken.
Okiagari-koboshi means literally “getting-up little priest”. It’s a traditional Japanese roly-poly doll made from papier-mâché and designed so that its weight causes it to return to an upright position when knocked over. Okiagari-koboshi have been part of Japanese children's toys for a very long time; they were already mentioned in documents from the XIVth century. During the Tokaichi festival, also called the Tenth Day Market, people throw several roly-poly dolls down at the same time and the ones that stand back up are considered good-luck charms.
Okiagari-koboshi is a symbol of perseverance and resilience in times of adversity. Just like this Japanese saying: “Fall seven times, stand up eight”. According to tradition, one okiagari-koboshi should be given as a present to each member of the family plus one extra in the hope that the family will grow over the following year.