Teru Teru Bozu - The Bald Japanese Doll

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Have you ever seen a white cloth doll looking like a ghost hanging from houses and some places in Japan? This doll is called Teru Teru Bozu and in this article we will see some curiosities about this bald doll, its song and its origin.

This doll made of cloth is hung on the edge of the houses with the hope that the weather will be good the next day.

The meaning of Teru Teru Bozu

In Japan, children are taught early on about the wonderful powers of the Teru Teru Bozu [てるてるぼうず] literally means something like shiny bald head (reference to monks).

Easily constructed from two squares of fabric or cloth, the doll is made in such a way that it represents the bald head of a monk. It can also be called teruteru houshi, terere bozu, hiyori bouzo depending on the region.

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It is built while the weather is good, which makes your head dry and shiny (as it won't get wet). It is usually hung on the window wishing the rain to stop and the weather to remain good.

Teru teru bozu - the bald japanese doll

Origin of Teru Teru Bozu

While the tradition is well practiced and known, many Japanese remain in doubt about the doll's origins. It seems that this custom arose in the middle of the Edo Period due to the similarities with the origami doll and names mentioned in the literature.

The origins of the “talisman” Teru Teru Bozu remain vague. Some say that the obscure lyrics at the end of the song refer to a “monk of good weather”, who was able to bring good weather with a spell.

However, after promising a good time to a feudal lord, the sun did not appear as promised and the monk's head was cut off as punishment. It is said that the monk's head was wrapped in a cloth and hung out to stop the rain and bring the sun.

The less horrible story suggests that the “talisman” represents a yokai (spirit of the mountains) called Hiyoribo, which brings good weather and cannot be seen on rainy days.

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In China, there is a paper doll cut with a sword in hand, a squirrel girl, and the similarity between her and Teruterubouzu was already pointed out in Sakakibara Takasu in the Edo period.

Teru teru bozu - the bald doll

Appearances in Anime

Teru Teru Bozu has already appeared as a reference in several anime, we separated some scenes, see if you recognize each anime? I well remember your appearance in the classic anime of Detective Conan.

Teruteru

Song Teru Teru Bozu

There is a classic song that talks a little about this doll. Below we will see the lyrics of the song teru teru bozu in Japanese, romanized, its translation and some videos of the song. The song is from the year 1921 written by Kagamimura Asahara and composed by Shinpei Nakayama.

Teru Teru Bozu Song Lyrics in Japanese

てるてるぼうず、てるぼうず
明日天気にしておくれ
いつかの夢の空のように
晴れたら金の鈴あげよ

てるてるぼうず、てるぼうず
明日天気にしておくれ
私の願いを聞いたなら
甘いお酒をたんと飲ましょ

てるてるぼうず、てるぼうず
明日天気にしておくれ
それでも曇って泣いてたら
そなたの首をちょんと切るぞ

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Romanized Song Lyrics Teru Teru Bozu

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Itsuka no yume no sora no yō ni
Haretara kin no suzu ageyo

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Watashi no negai wo kiita nara
Love o-sake wo so much nomasho

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Soreto mo kumotte naitetara
Sonata no kubi wo chon to kiru zo

Teru Teru Bozu Song Translation

Teru teru bozu, teru bozu.
Make it a sunny day tomorrow.
Like the sky of a dream I had.
If it is sunny I will give you a golden bell.

Teru teru bozu, teru bozu.
Make it a sunny day tomorrow.
If my dream comes true.
We will drink a lot of sweet wines made from rice.

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Teru teru bozu, teru bozu.
Make it a sunny day tomorrow.
But if it rains you will be crying.
Then I'll cut your head off with the scissors.

Videos of the song Teru Teru Bozu

Search sources: Japanese Wikipedia