Shinsengumi the Warrior Okiagari Roly-poly Doll
Shinsengumi means the New Squad. This group of samurais was formed between 1863 and 1869 in order to give support the Japanese military government. Their code of conduct included courage, compassion, honour and loyalty among other principles. They wore a blue uniform with a white rope crossed on their chest and white mountains depicted on both sleeves. The Shinsengumi squad became famous defending bravely Tokio.
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.