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Okiku Doll


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#1    Time Turner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:08 PM

A mysterious doll supposedly possessed by the spirit of a child has captured the curiosity of people across Japan for decades. The legendary Okiku doll, named after the girl who long ago used to play with it, is a 40-centimeter (16-in) tall kimono-clad figure with beady black eyes- and hair that grows.

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(Okiku doll Mannenji temple)

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 initially had short cropped hair, but over time it has grown to about 25 centimeters (10 in) long, down to the doll’s knees. Although the hair is periodically trimmed, it reportedly keeps growing back.

It is said that the doll was originally purchased in 1918 by a 17-year-old boy named Eikichi Suzuki while visiting Sapporo for a marine exhibition. He bought the doll on Tanuki-koji, Sapporo’s famous shopping street, as a souvenir for his 2-year-old sister, Okiku. The young girl loved the doll and played with it every day, but the following year, she died suddenly of a cold. The family placed the doll in the household altar and prayed to it every day in memory of Okiku.

Some time later, they noticed the hair had started to grow. This was seen as a sign that the girl’s restless spirit had taken refuge in the doll. In 1938, the Suzuki family moved to Sakhalin, and they 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. However, one scientific examination of the doll supposedly concluded that the hair is indeed that of a young child.

(source of the original site I found this legend on is given by Biff below)

Edited by Time Turner, 25 January 2012 - 03:04 PM.

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." - Oscar Wilde


#2    Time Turner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:12 PM

My only idea and explanation is that perhaps the doll has some sort of mechanism inside of it that slowly extends the hair and is rewound when you move the doll to cut it? It is a creepy story, nonetheless. I've never been one for dolls :unsure2:

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." - Oscar Wilde


#3    George Ford

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:13 PM

Burn it with fire!

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#4    Biff Wellington

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:27 PM

Here's the source if anyone needs it.

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#5    Time Turner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:35 PM

While the Okiku within the doll legend was purportedly given the doll in the early 1900's and died of a cold, the name Okiku is seen in Japanese ghost tales going much farther back in time. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, or perhaps it is just a woven tale using the famous name from past tales to gain more attention? The ghost story of Okiku, an unfortunate servant maid, is one of the best known and was transformed into a Kabuki play and numerous novels.

Bancho Sarayashiki
In the kabuki play Bancho Sarayashiki, Okiku is a maid at the mansion of the Japanese samurai Tessan Aoyama. The samurai wants to seduce the cute girl but she rejects his advances. Aoyama uses a trick. He hides one of ten valuable Dutch plates and threatens Okiku to make public that she had stolen the plate unless she agrees to become his mistress. In her desperation Okiku throws herself into the well and drowns. Okiku's ghost comes out every night, counting from one to nine and then breaks out into a terrible howling and sobbing. Finally Aoyama goes insane by the daily apparitions at night.

Different Versions
There are different versions of the ghost story of Okiku. What they all have in common is the description of her ghost coming out of the well and counting from one to nine and then breaking out into a heart-rendering sobbing. In another version, Okiku really breaks a plate and is killed by her master and her corpse is thrown into the well. In yet another version, it is the wife of Aoyama, who breaks the plate. To hide her guilt, she throws the broken plate into the well and accuses Okiku of having it stolen. In this version she is also killed by her master for punishment and thrown into the well. There is also an alternate version for the end of the story. To stop the nightly sobbing, a friend of the family of Aoyama is hired. He is hiding at the well during the night and after Okiku had counted from one to nine, he is stepping forward shouting loudly "ten". From then on the ghost of Okiku was never seen again.

The Himeji Castle Version
One of the tourist attractions on Himeji Castle is Okiku's well. In the Himeji version, Okiku was a servant of Aoyama, a retainer who planned a plot against his lord. Okiku overheard the plot and reported it to her lover, a loyal warrior. The plot was averted. When Aoyama found out that Okiku had been the cause for his failure, he decided to kill her. So he accused her of having stolen one of ten valuable dishes. She was tortured to death and thrown into the well. Okiku's well on Himeji Castle is in competition with another location of the well, the garden of the Canadian embassy in Tokyo - established on land bought from the Aoyama family. Looks like there are at least as many locations of the well of the poor girl as there are different versions of her story. All the variations of the ghost story of Okiku have an extremely wrongful and cruel treatment of a poor girl of the lower classes in common. But different from the ghost story of Yotsuya, revenge towards the tormenter is not the big Leitmotiv (apart from one variation of the story).

Shinkei Sanju-roku Kai Sen - 36 New Ghosts
Among the ukiyo-e artists designing ghost subjects, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892) should be mentioned in first place. Yoshitoshi strongly believed in the existence of ghosts and was convinced that he had personally seen supernatural apparitions in his life. The print of The Ghost of Okiku at the Dish Mansion was part of the series Shinkei Sanju-roku Kai Sen. It was Yoshitoshi's last series before his death (together with one One Hundred Aspects of the Moon) and was published from 1889 to 1892. The series can be found under different English translations like New Selection of 36 Apparitions or Thirty-six New Ghosts. Towards the end of his life, the subjects of Yoshitoshi's prints were predominantly chosen from Japan's rich cultural tradition and history. It was an appeal of the artist to his countrymen not to give up their traditional values in exchange for the Western modernization that had begun in the Meiji period.

(source: The Japanese Ghost Story of Okiku)

Edited by Time Turner, 25 January 2012 - 02:36 PM.

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." - Oscar Wilde


#6    Time Turner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:36 PM

Thanks Biff. ^_^

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." - Oscar Wilde


#7    Vaise

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:57 PM

any idea what the hair is made from, i remember reading and see a tv show about a Adolf Hitler Wax work in Madame Tussauds that used real human hair. Said statue required a haircut twice. No idea if human hair could continue to grow for so long after being removed from the body mind.

Here is the video.



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#8    Time Turner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:31 PM

Interesting video, Vaise. Thanks for posting. ^_^ That is very strange :blink: The skeptic part of my mind wants to say it's a publicity stunt to get more visitors, but I don't want to rule out the possibility of it being something else. Myths about hair growing after death have been around for decades, but it's been proven to be false. It makes it even more bizarre to think of such a thing happening on an inanimate object in which hair never actually grew in the first place.

Edited by Time Turner, 25 January 2012 - 03:34 PM.

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight,
and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." - Oscar Wilde


#9    lalalalana

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:44 PM

Whatever the reason is for the hair growing, that doll is the creepiest thing I've ever seen  :hmm:

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
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#10    Fate_happens

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:09 AM

I'm going to go ahead and ask a stupid question, but what have they done to conclude that it's the hair of a young child? What was the hair made from in the first place before the haunting? Has it changed or something?


#11    MasterAdam

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:05 AM

Interesting if not bs but regardless, I ****ing hate dolls and would dip it in lava.


#12    Hostess

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

Sounds just like Robert the Doll


#13    Kieru-desu

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 06:56 AM

Well, Asians, such as myself, are well-known for our very unique, and sometimes creepy, culture... So it is possible that the Okiku doll is in fact possessed by the little girl.


#14    FLOMBIE

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 10:28 AM

No, it's not.


#15    Skulduggery

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Posted 03 April 2016 - 01:43 AM

Any time-lapse of this?





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