Home » Okiku Doll: Ever-growing Hair of The Haunted Japanese Doll

Today, I will introduce Okiku Doll, the haunted Japanese doll whose hair keeps growing.

Is the doll possessed? Did the spirit of the original owner take over? We will explore this doll’s myth here.

What is Okiku Doll?

Okiku Doll (お菊人形/Okiku the haunted doll) is a Japanese doll that currently stays in Mannenji (萬念寺) temple, Hokkaido.

In general, we have Ichimatsu Dolls (市松人形) in Japan, which are traditional Japanese doll crafts using wood, and the doll in the temple used to be just one of them. However, what makes Okiku Doll famous is that her hair keeps growing despite being a doll.

The story is said to have begun in 1918, during the Taisho era (1912-1926), but it became nationally known since 1970 when Hokkaido Newspaper (北海道新聞) introduced it, along with its backstory.

Okiku Doll Story (podcast)

Okiku Doll: Ever-growing Hair of The Haunted Japanese Doll

Characteristics of Okiku Doll


Appearance of Okiku Doll

The look of Okiku Doll includes a bit plump white face, a slightly open mouth and red lips, waist-length black hair and a body dressed in a kimono. This hair is actually made of human hair.

Her slightly dishevelled hair and emotionless expression create a unique atmosphere that may give some viewers an eerie impression.

The location where The doll is stored

Okiku Doll is currently stored in Mannenji (萬念寺) temple, which is located in Hokkaido prefecture in Japan. You can see the exact location by the map search in your browser

History & Backstory

Several patterns exist regarding the history and background of Okiku Doll, but the most widely known story is as follows.

At an exhibition in Sapporo in 1918, Eikichi Suzuki (鈴木永吉), who was 17 at the time, bought a Japanese doll with bob-style black hair and fringe for his three-year-old sister Kikuko (菊子). Kikuko loved the doll so much that she even took it to her bedroom and slept with it.

However, in January of the following year, Kikuko died suddenly from a bad cold.

In Japan, we place things that the dead loved in a coffin. But the Suzuki family forgot to put that for Kikuko, so it was displayed at the altar.

At some point, its hair had grown down to its shoulders. In 1938, the Suzuki family left Hokkaido and moved to Sakhalin (樺太/currently in Russia but was part of Japan at the time), leaving the doll at Mannenji temple.

After the war, when they returned to the temple for a memorial service, the doll’s hair had grown even longer.

They believed that Kikuko’s spirit resided in the doll, so they asked Mannenji to store the doll as it was for a permanent memorial service. Okiku Doll has stayed there ever since.

Why is the hair of Okiku Doll growing?


Theory 1: Okiku Doll is actually possessed

In Japan, it has long been believed that dolls can be possessed by spirits or serve as a medium for receiving strong human emotions.

In fact, there are cases where dolls are used as a medium for curses, as in Ushi no Toki Mairi, or as a medium for seances, as in Hitori Kakurenbo.

It has been pointed out that Okiku Doll was strongly loved by Kikuko during her lifetime. It is possible that Kikuko herself possessed the doll after her death or that her strong feelings had some effect on it.

↓ Check out these related articles for a deeper dive into each topic!


Ushi no Toki Mairi (Ushi no Koku Mairi): Japanese Curse Ritual by Shrine Visit


Hitori Kakurenbo: Cursed Ritual of Solo Hide-and-Seek – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta

Theory 2: Has the doll’s hair that was glued loosened?

Another possible theory about the cause of hair growth is that the hair may have “shifted” over time.

This is because of the general method of the Japanese doll’s hair transplant, whereby one long strand of hair is folded in two and glued to the doll’s head. For example, let’s say you want the doll’s hair length to be 20 cm. Then, you should prepare a 40-centimetre hair, fold it in half in the middle and glue it into a hole in the doll’s head.

When hair is transplanted in this way, if the glue gets old, the adhesive strength weakens, and the hair may shift little by little, giving the appearance of unevenly grown hair.

An investigation into whether Okiku Doll’s hair was planted in this way would provide further verification of this possibility. However, a detailed investigation of the Okiku Doll has not been carried out due to the wishes of Mannenji, so this theory has not been confirmed yet…

The myth of Okiku Doll Still lives…

Actually, Mannenji temple says that the Okiku Doll’s hair continues to grow and she gets a haircut once a year.

The doll also “doesn’t like to be photographed”, and when someone tries to take photos, they don’t photograph well or something unintentional is in the photo. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photographs of Okiku Doll for this reason, and all that makes me feel the existence of something that science has not yet been able to clarify.

↓Check out these related articles as well to find out more about Japanese urban legends/creepypastas!


My Top 10 Japanese Urban Legends/Creepypastas of the Scariest


Toshi Densetsu – Japanese Urban Legend/Creepypasta Archives

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