Her hair grows
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Mannenji temple is situated on Hokkaido and practices the Jodo Sect of Buddhism. The beautiful tranquility of the temple is undisturbed by the sinister doll within its walls. She has raised no concerns during her long stay.
Inside, they have built a small shrine. Decorated in flowers and golden embroidery, the small doll has been given a place of reverence. The monks perhaps do not love her, but they certainly respect the spirit of Okiku. When asked, they will quickly tell you the tragic tale ok Okiku.
In 1918 a teenage boy, Eikichi Suzuki, bought a beautiful doll for his sister, Okiku. The little doll had an uncanny resemblance to the girl, even her haircut, which was a pretty bob with a fringe, matched her perfectly. So the little girl called the doll also Okiku. They were twins.
This doll quickly became her favorite toy and no matter where she went, her little doll would come with her.
The doll apparently bore a striking resemblance to its owner.
But tragedy struck, and the young girl was killed (yellow fever). The parents, completely devastated by the loss made a small shrine in her memory, placing the doll in its center. They named it Okiku.
One day the mother was praying at the altar when she noticed something peculiar. The doll's hair was longer than it had been before! She quickly called her husband and he came to the same conclusion, Okiku's hair was growing. They realised that their daughter's spirit must have possessed the doll.
Although certain peculiar, they decided to keep the doll and so keep their daughter close to them. A few years later the family decided to move to Japan proper, but they did not wish to take the doll with them, believing that their daughter would be happier in a place she knew.
They took her to the monks of the ... temple, where the small doll has resided ever since.
But the story doesn't end there. The monks claim that some time ago, one of their members had a dream about Okiku who asked him to please cut her hair, as she didn't like to grow too long. Since then they have trimmed the beautiful black hair, but it still grows to this day.
Much like many of the folklore and superstition littered across the many islands of Japan, the story of Okiku is a mixture of horror and tragedy. Almost sweet in a way. It is difficult to find pure horror in her dull eyes when one remembers that she is really just a little girl whose life was cut a little too short.
And her hair that grew a little too long.
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