Teru teru bozu (てるてる坊主)

Hanging "teru teru bozu," a hand-made doll made of white paper or cloth, at the front of a house in the straight position is a Japanese custom, which is believed to bring good weather for the next day.
It is called various names by region, such as 'teru teru bozu,' 'tere tere bozu,' and 'hiyori bozu.'

Some regions hang the doll upside down to pray for rain, which is also has various names like 'fure fure bozu,' 'ame ame bozu,' and 'rute rute bozu.'
Moreover, it is believed that 'drawing face parts' on teru teru bozu brings rain.


This custom originally came from China (in China, such dolls were called '雲掃人形' (sweeping-cloud doll) or '掃晴娘' (fine weather girl)).
In the "帝城景物略," there is a description that 'As this area has little rain these days, I made a girl doll with white paper, dressing it in clothes made of red and green colored paper, letting it take a small broom made of plant, and hung it under the eaves, giving it the name of 掃晴娘.'
In Japan, it seems that teru teru bozu had already been hung in the middle of the Edo period. There is a description in "Kiyushoran" (an encyclopedic book on cultures) that after the weather became fine, teru teru bozu is thrown into a river with a bottle of sacred sake after face parts were applied. Moreover, in the third volume of "Kagero Diary" (a classical piece of Japanese literature, diary literature), there is a description that 'Despite heavy rain, I visited a shrine to pray for sunshine tomorrow. I had thought that nobody would visit there in such a day, but there was an unknown person, who told me, "If you make a girl doll and dress it in hand-made clothes, the weather will become fine tomorrow. Although I could not believe it, I decided to try it and sewed silk clothes. However, I could not understand why this doll works miracles. God only knows whether tomorrow is fine or not. Indeed the doll's white face and clothes remind me of god, but I cannot still believe the miraculous power in the doll." Some scholars believe that this description has a relationship with 掃晴娘.

Children's song

A children's song "Teru teru bozu" is famous, whose lyrics was written by Rokuro ASAHARA (pen name; KAGAMIMURA) and melody was composed by Shinpei NAKAYAMA. Released in 1921, this song was introduced in schoolbooks (its lyrics cannot be introduced here, because this song is in a copyright protection period. Expiration of the copyright is scheduled on December 31, 2027). The third set of lyrics, 'If the weather of tomorrow should not be fine, I will cut off the neck of you, teru teru bozu,' is so cruel that this set is frequently excluded from broadcasting today.

[Original Japanese]