It’s now summertime and it's currently rainy season (梅雨) in Japan. As usual for this time of year, it’s forecast to rain a lot for the next few days in Japan. It reminds me that my mom used to teach us to make Teru-teru-Bouzu (てるてる坊主) during the rainy season.
Many cultures have ancient rituals for invoking or for stopping the rain, and Japan is no exception. However, Japan is one of the few countries where these rituals are still part of the daily life.
If you visit Japan, especially during the rainy seasons, you can encounter some curious looking dolls, made of paper or cloth, hanging at the windows. The dolls are called Teru-teru-Bouzu (てるてる坊主); meaning shiny-shiny monk or shiny-shiny bald-headed; and are amulets for good weather, believed to have the magical power to stop or prevent the rain.
The tradition includes also a song associated with teru teru bozu, composed by Shinpei Nakayama (中山晋平), published in 1921.
1.てるてる坊主 てる坊主♪ 明日 天気にしておくれ いつかの夢の 空の様に 晴れたら 金の鈴 あげよ
Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu, do make tomorrow a sunny day. If you do make the sun shine, I will give you the golden bell.
2.てるてる坊主 てる坊主♪ 明日 天気にしておくれ 私の願いを 聞いたなら 甘いお酒も たんと飲ましょ
Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu, do make tomorrow a sunny day. If you made my wish come true, I will drink the sweet sake with you.
3.てるてる坊主 てる坊主♪ 明日 天気にしておくれ それでも曇って 泣いてたら そなたの首を チョンと切るぞ
Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu, do make tomorrow a sunny day. But if the clouds cry (it’s raining), then I shall snip your head off.
Because it sounds very cruel to snip your head off, current broadcast is often cut out the 3rd part.
In some area, people put the Teru-teru-Bouzu upside down in order to wish for rain. It's called Rute-rute-Bouzu(るてるて坊主), Fure-fure-Bouzu(ふれふれ坊主), or Ame-ame-Bouzu(あめあめ坊主).