Momotaro the Brave Okiagari Roly-poly Doll
Momotaro is the main character of a famous Japanese tale. Once upon a time there was a couple of elderly people who were feeling very lonely as they could not have any children. One day they found an enormous peach floating on the river. They took it home and from the peach -momo in Japanese- rose up a strong and healthy baby: their wish had been fulfilled. Momotaro grew up in a loving environment and became a brave boy: he defeated the demons on the Onigashima island and became a heroe.
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.