Building Buddhism – Japan’s FlatPack Souvenir

Of course there are a multitude of interesting, novel and erm … downright weird souvenirs purchasable from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, most however are unlikely to have the accolade of  first place in the ‘most fascinating souvenir’ competition, arranged by the Japan Tourism Agency. You can therefore, be confident when purchasing the KD (Knock-Down) Daruma that you not only have a prestigious award winning item, but can also look forward to some simple flat-pack assembly fun on your return!

A more traditional Daruma Doll pictured yesterday

The Daruma is a centuries old Japanese good luck charm which symbolises Bodhidharma, founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism and is traditionally manufactured from Papier-Mache, however the KD Daruma can be purchased in plywood or cardboard from Amazon Japan.

DK Daruma
KD Daruma

The tradition of the Daruma as a good luck token originated in Gunma Prefecture.  The eyebrows are shaped to resemble a crane (the flying variety), while the beard mimics the shell of a tortoise–both creatures embodying longevity, thus blessing the Daruma’s family with long and healthy lives. The main purpose of a Daruma, however is to help its owner achieve much more specific goals.

When a Daruma is first sold, the eyes are purposefully left empty and white. The owner fills in one eye of the Daruma and puts the doll on display until their goal is achieved. Glimpsing the one-eyed Daruma acts to remind that one’s work is unfinished and one must continue to strive for achievement.

KD Daruma in kit form
KD Daruma in travel mode

Historically, there was the man called Daruma-daishi (aka Bhodhidharma), a Buddhist monk who is credited with spreading the practice of Zen Buddhism into China. Then, there are the Daruma dolls, papier mache prayer tokens made and distributed throughout Japan for the sake of health, longevity, and success. These limbless dolls have an approximate 400-year history of bringing encouragement and good fortune to the people of Japan. 

The joviality of the spacious but somehow cosy WeDo Flatpack offices was momentarily suspended when all available fitters caught sight of the KD Daruma and thoughts turned to a few moments spent gleefully assembling this ingenious little souvenir, We’d be more than delighted to assemble yours too!  For all Flatpack assemblies UK wide check us out at or telephone and speak to one of our courteous and helpful customer advisers on 0845 388 5252


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