Was 'Okiku' the doll inhabited by the spirit of their daughter?
A Curious Looking Doll
This doll is no ordinary doll, as every year its hair needs to be trimmed, as it grows. The hair is allowed to grow till it hits knee length on the doll, then is trimmed back to just below shoulder length. Now I am not exactly an expert on such things, but I was always under the impression that a dolls hair does not grow.
The hair has been growing for at least the past 75 years, and it is from this that the shrine has become famous.
The doll stood about 40cms tall and was dressed in a traditional kimono. The hair was black and cut to about shoulder length, in a traditional style, and the eyes were piercing, like black beads pressed into the life-like flesh of the face.
When Eikichi returned home he presented the doll to his little sister, who fell in love with it immediately. The doll became Okiku's favourite toy and, it would seem, best friend.
Okiku played with her doll everyday, and soon gave it the same name as herself, 'Okiku'. The doll would never be out of Okiku's sight.
Unfortunately, in 1919, Okiku passed away after a severe fever. She was only three years old. The doll was to be buried along with Okiku, but due to some unforeseen circumstance, the doll was never placed with Okiku in her final resting place.
Okiku (the doll) was instead placed in the family’s altar, in commemoration of their daughter.
Sometime thereafter the Suzuki's noticed that the dolls hair was getting longer. It once had a traditional shoulder length cut with neat ends, but now the doll had hair reaching down towards the waist, and the ends were more random in length.
The family believed the spirit/soul of their daughter inhabited the doll.
Haunted Doll Okiku
Here they informed the priest of the dolls hair, and the priest, over time, could confirm that the story was true, the hair did indeed grow. Periodically the hair would get a trim and soon photos of the doll with different lengths began to adorn the small shrine, dedicated to the Okiku the doll and Okiku the girls memory.
It has been said that upon analysis of a cut sample from the hair that it does indeed belong to that of a child, but since the sample was not cut directly from the doll itself, no definitive conclusion can be made.
A Question for You
What do you think?