Teru teru bōzu – The Japanese Weather amulet

Teru teru bōzu – The Japanese Weather amulet

We explore the lore of the Teru teru bōzu

In Japan, there is an amulet that is called the Teru Teru bōzu (in English ‘shine shine monk’). They are traditional handmade dolls made of white paper and/or cloth that were traditionally hung outside a window by a string. They look like little ghost dolls but they are weather amulets. It is a common belief that these amulets have the power to bring good weather and to prevent rainy days. If hung upside down they are believed to bring storms or rain. According to tradition, if the weather does not turn out well, eyes are drawn on the amulet, holy sake is poured all over it and then the amulet is washed away in a river.

Teru teru bōzu

Teru teru bōzu

The practice of hanging a Teru teru bōzu outside as a prayer for a sunny or rainy day is still practiced today and to see these amulets hanging from a window is quite common in Japan. Children even bring these amulets from yochien (Japanese kindergarten) or hoikuen (daycare), where they made them as a school project. Japanese children are also taught how to sing the hauntingly beautiful nursery rhyme Teru teru bōzu. The ending sounds quite ominous. Here is the nursery rhyme in Japanese, followed by a translation in English:

Teru Teru bōzu (Original Japanese)

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

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Watashi no negai wo kiita nara
Amai o-sake wo tanto nomasho.

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

Teru teru bōzu (English Translation)

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it’s sunny I’ll give you a golden bell.

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
If you make my wish come true
We’ll drink lots of sweet sake.

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
but if it’s cloudy and I find you crying (i.e. it’s raining)
Then I shall snip your head off.

Here is a lovely rendition of the song, just follow the link: http://bit.ly/Teru-teru-bōzu-song

Here is an adorable video where a girl shows us how to make a Teru teru bōzu amulet: http://bit.ly/Making-a-teru-teru-bōzu-amulet

Anime recommendations

Looking for anime with Teru teru bōzu in? Here is a list where you might find them:
Azumanga Daioh
ChocoMimi
Detective Conan
Fairy Tail
Hidamari Sketch
Non Non Biyori
Pokémon (Castform is based off of a Teru Teru Bozu.)
ReKan
Samurai 7
Toradora
Urusei Yatsura

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za