The Matsukawa Daruma craft has been kept alive by the crafters at Hongo Daruma-ya for centuries. Here, with the help of Mrs. Hongo and another craftsman, Mr. Hongo - a descendent of samurai - makes authentic Matsukawa Daruma using the exact same techniques and method as 200 years ago.
It is said that Matsukawa Daruma dolls were originally created by Toyonoshin Matsukawa, a samurai of the Date clan. His apprentice, Kyuzaburo Hongo, inherited the unique techniques of the craft and passed them down the Hongo family line for 10 generations. By strictly adhering to the wishes of Lord Masamune Date, who taught his clan to paint "both eyes to watch over the people” onto their creations, to this day, only the male descendants of the samurai are able to draw black eyes onto Matsukawa Daruma. At Hongo Daruma-ya, this task falls upon Mr. Hongo.
Daruma can be found all over Japan, but Mastukawa Daruma are specifically unique to Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. These Daruma's bright blue color represents the sea, hospitality, and may have also been the color favored by the Date clan. While other Daruma do not have the eyes already painted on, Matsukawa Daruma do in order to "watch over the people" as was requested by the "One-Eyed Dragon," Date Masamune himself. The depiction of the god of good fortune and/or a treasure boat filled with items of good fortune on its midsection is also unique.
More than good luck charms, Sendai's Matsukawa Daruma are deeply meaningful talismans of good fortune, hospitality, fighting spirit, and protection.