Clarissa Johal: #Haunted Okiku Doll - #FolkloreThursday

Thursday, September 27, 2018

#Haunted Okiku Doll - #FolkloreThursday

Photo courtesy of  Stewart Butterfield via Flickr
The Okiku doll has resided at the Mannenji temple in the town of Iwamizawa, Hokkaido prefecture since 1938. According to the temple, the traditional doll had short cropped hair, but over time it has grown to about 25 centimeters long, down to the doll’s knees. Although the hair is periodically trimmed, it reportedly keeps growing back.

The doll was originally purchased in 1918 by a 17-year-old boy named Eikichi Suzuki. He bought the doll as a souvenir for his 2-year-old sister, Okiku. The young girl loved the doll and played with it every day. The following year, Okiku died from a cold. The family placed the doll in the household altar and prayed to it every day in memory of her.

Sometime later, the family noticed the hair had started to grow. This was seen as a sign that the girl’s restless spirit had taken refuge within the doll. In 1938, the Suzuki family moved and placed the doll in the care of Mannenji temple, where it has remained ever since.

Nobody has ever been able to fully explain why the doll’s hair continues to grow. One scientific examination of the doll concluded that the hair is indeed that of a young child.

I was unable to find a photo of the doll under the Creative Commons license (and I never post photos in my blog unless I have permission). You can view the actual doll via YouTube:

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