Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Weird: Okiku The Haunted Doll

In 1918, a teenage boy named Eikichi Suzuki bought a doll for his 2 year old sister Okiku. She loved the doll and carried it everywhere.

But, unfortunately, a year later little Okiku died from either a cold or a fever (sources differ on this). After the funeral, the family found Okiku's doll and were saddened that they'd forgotten to put it with her. They placed the doll on the family altar so they could pray to it in her memory.

Most traditional Japanese dolls have cropped hair.

But after her death, Okiku's doll turned a little...different. The Okiku (named after the original owner) doll's hair began to grow. Over time it has grown to almost 10 inches, down to the doll's knees.

The family took this as a sign that the little girl's spirit was residing in the doll.

In 1938, the family moved and donated a doll to a local temple to be cared for. The temple says they periodically cut the hair, but that it continues to grow.

The Okiku doll is a pretty well-known story (and has even inspired a Japanese movie) but a few things we should think about is that the name Okiku is often seen in Japanese ghost tales, many stretching further back than the 1900s. Also some sources say that there have been scientific studies on the doll that show that the hair is indeed, human (some sources also say that additional tests show that the hair is a child's hair. I doubt both of these details, since I don't know that there were any kind of tests back in the early nineteen hundreds that could tell whether hair belonged to a child. Also, many dolls had hair that was human hair, so unless the doll was tested beforehand (and why would it be?) I just don't buy that, either. But again, not all sources of this story include those details)



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Where is the doll now and have any tests been done on it recently.
If all of them have human hair, wouldn't they all grow? Or not grow, as I didn't think hair grew once detached from the source.

Maria Zannini said...

I love ghost stories. And whether it's true or not, I'd like to believe the little girl's spirit stayed with her family.

It would be nice to see documented evidence that the hair is growing though.

PS This post reminded me of the story of Hachiko. If you have not seen the movie Hachi, please do. It's on Netflix. Not quite a ghost story, but a real life story of love and devotion between a man and his dog. Keep a box of tissues.

Hannah Kincade said...

Creepy doll. I think I've seen this at least a couple Japanese horror films with creepy dolls.

Matthew MacNish said...

Obviously a Kami, but then in Shinto they believe all kinds of inanimate objects are alive.

Teebore said...

Yeah, I feel like this is the sort of thing that, these days, would be easy to prove/disprove.

Measure the doll's hair. Put it somewhere where its under constant observation (to ensure no one is secretly adding the hair), then measure the hair again periodically. It's either growing or not.

Whether or not the hair is human is irrelevant. As you said, it could have been human hair from the start.

Rena said...

You know, there's a reason that dolls make so many appearances in horror flicks.

As for this doll, I ran across a culture in fiction once where the gods were only as powerful as those who believed in them. Perhaps, that's the case with the doll of a little girl who believed.

I'd like to know if the hair is really growing or not. Because wow.

Leandra Wallace said...

Just...creepy. Very. *shudders*

Jamie Gibbs said...

Sounds odd, but just another folk tale in my eyes. Still, haunted dolls are up there with haunted paintings for the creep factor. Have you seen the legend surrounding "Hands Resist Him"? *shudder*

Elizabeth Twist said...

The only solution is to KILL IT WITH FIRE immediately after KICKING ITS FACE OFF.

محمد زلفة said...

watched a Japanese ghost movie back in 1998, I can't remember what the title is and what year that movie made.. what I can remember is a doll, school, old toilet school, one of the toilet stall have a.. wormhole/other dimension portal... I don't how to explain..

If I can watch that movie again... it will be awesome..

Stefanie Lynn said...

I like the story.

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