Daruma otoshi is a traditional Japanese toy with no clear origin. The game is played with
six cylindrical segments of wood and a small wooden mallet. The segments are stacked in a
tower. The top segment is painted with the face of a Daruma doll while the others are each a
different, solid color. After the segments are stacked, the player uses the hammer to remove the
bottom segment from the tower. The object of the game is to remove all of the segments without
toppling the entire tower. The game is finished when the Daruma doll stands alone on the table.
This game is a test of reflexes and hand-eye coordination.
The doll on top is a Daruma doll which, in Japan, is a symbol of good fortune. These
dolls are painted with the face of Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who
founded the Zen part of Buddhism and is said to have meditated for nine years. Since he did not
move for nine years he lost the ability to use his arms and legs. It is also said that in the ninth
year of his meditation Bodhidharma fell asleep and, in his anger towards himself, he cut off his
eyelids so that it would never happen again.