You might have noticed that Japanese snowmen look different from their Western counterparts. Let’s examine their origin.
雪だるま (yuki-daruma) – snowman
雪 (yuki) – snow
だるま (daruma) – Japanese form of dharma (Sanskrit). Bodhidharma was a monk who brought Zen Buddhism to China from India.
Bodhidharma by Fugai Ekun (1568–1654)
Japan, Edo period, 17thcentury, ink on paper
Yuki-daruma have two parts because they represent sitting Bodhidharma. Some keen entrepreneurs turned yuki-daruma into business opportunity…
Daruma dolls are also modeled after Bodhidharma. These dolls are purchased at the end of the year to make a wish. Paint one eye with ink, and paint the other one a year later if it comes true.