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 "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.