In Japan, there are many iconic and cute characters in anime and manga. But even before anime and manga are invented, Japanese people were already creative in that field.
Daruma is kind of cute but it’s modelled after Bodhidharma who is the founder of the Zen section of Buddhism. Japanese people regard Daruma Doll as as a symbol of good luck. Also popular gift of encouragement. They will always return to an upright-position when you try to tilt over. That represents the spirit of not giving up.
Maneki-neko is a Japanese ornament which can be found at the entrance of shops. Although the meaning is different across cultures, its gesture represents a beckoning motion in Japan. For this reason, maneki-neko is said to be calling for happiness and good fortune. Many people buy it hoping to make their business prosperous.
Kokeshi, are Japanese dolls, are basically handmade from wood. Kokeshi have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The reason is unclear.