Here’s a fun foreign culture lesson for a Friday. Teru Teru Bozu by Brooklyn-based Lori Samsel reinterprets a traditional Japanese nursery rhyme through animation. The song illustrates the uniquely Japanese custom of making small white paper or cloth dolls, which represent Buddhist monks, and hanging them from windows as an amulet to bring out the sun and stop the rain. The Wikipedia entry about the song is fascinating, and discusses the sinister history of the 1920s song:
This song is rumored to have a darker history than it first appears. It allegedly originated from a story of a monk who promised farmers to stop rain and bring clear weather during a prolonged period of rain which was ruining crops. When the monk failed to bring sunshine, he was executed.
Lori’s distinctive animation technique is also worth noting. She told me that she roughed out all the animation in After Effects, printed out each frame, inked it onto paper, and scanned it back into the computer.