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 "little monk who stands up". It is a traditional Japanese roly-poly doll made with papier-mâché. It is designed in such a way that it always returns to the vertical position, even if you try to tip it to one side. Okiagaris have been a part of Japanese children's toys for a long time. They were already mentioned in writings of the fourteenth century. During the Tokaichi or Tenth Day Market, customers drop a few dolls at a time and the ones that remain standing are said to bring good fortune.
Okiagaris symbolize perseverance and resistance in times of adversity. They remind this old Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times, stand up eight”. According to tradition, a doll is given to each person in the family plus one, in the hope that a baby will be born during the year.