Friday, December 19, 2014

Okiku Doll

In 1918, a 17-year-old Japanese boy named Eikichi Suzuki who was in Sapporo for a marine exhibition purchased a 16-inch doll as a gift for his little sister. Having just turned 2-years-old, Okiku immediately fell in love with the little doll and carried it everywhere she went. At night, she slept with the doll right next to her. As her constant companion, she talked to it and played with it every day.

The next year, 3-year-old Okiku caught a bad cold which developed into pneumonia. She died holding her beloved doll. After her passing, the family placed the doll in the household alter and prayed to it every day in memory of Okiku.

Several months later, the family noticed the doll's hair had begun to grow. When bought, it had hair which was cropped short, but the hair was now almost 3 inches in length. Everyone took this as a sign that the spirit of Okiku had taken residence in the doll. The family continued to pray to the doll they now called Okiku every day and twice each year, they would take the doll from the alter and trim the hair back to the original length.

In 1938, the family moved to Sakhaline and could not take all of their possessions. The Okiku doll was placed in the care of the monks at the Mannenji Temple where it remains today. When the monks received the doll, its hair was short, but soon they too noticed the hair began to grow. They did not trim the hair back until it reached 10 inches long which is when they cut it back several inches.

The Okiku Doll's hair has continued to grow for almost 100 years now. The monks continue to trim it and they continue to believe the spirit of a loving little girl is within the doll. When they trimmed the doll's hair one time in the late 1990's, they gave the hair to a lab where scientist determined it was indeed that of a child. What the scientist and nobody else has been able to explain is how or why the hair grows when doing so is scientifically impossible. Or is it?