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Why do Anime Snowmen Wear Buckets? Culture Lesson:

Why do Anime Snowmen Wear Buckets? Culture Lesson:

Welcome to 2021, minna! The weather is definitely chillier where I am at, but my heart is becoming warmer with the prospect of a new year, especially because of who I have and what I love.

One item that fills my soul to the brim will always be Japanese culture and medias.  It speaks and soothes my being, inspires me, and has given me more gifts than I can count.  On Christmas Eve Eve, my brother and I dig up our old favorite childhood holiday specials.  One of our firsts is always the “Pikachu Winter Vacation” shorts.  As we are tittering at the antics of these adorable, iconic critters, my brother has a wondering look on his face this year and asks me, “You know, I wonder in anime, why you always see the snowmen with the almost angry face and the buckets on their heads?”

A lightbulb clicked in my head! An article had to be written!

So, my curious and cultured readers, I give you my findings to this burning question I am sure you had!


There are some key difference in an anime snowman I noticed in comparison to an American one:

  1. The bucket on their head,
  2. Their faces tend to be angry looking.
  3. They are made of two giant snowballs instead of three.

If they have twigs for arms, they often have mittens.  Scarves are also added.

The reasoning for this is interesting.  ^_^

Yukidaruma, is the term used for this type of snowman  The shape involving the two giant snowballs for the body instead of three is actually in the title.  Yuki means snow and daruma is a type of doll.  The Japanese snowman is based on the shape of this doll (the image below).  They do not have legs like our snowmen to better represent the doll.

(Side history note: A daruma doll is red, always rounded, and modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism.  They are common at shrines and are signs of good luck and giving someone encouragement. The dolls also are normally bought at the end of the year and a wish can be made upon them. I think it is a great thing to model a snowman after).

Daruma normally don’t have limbs, which is why sometimes, a yukidaruma does not. But I think the twig arms like it look more staple.

The wearing of a bucket or sometimes a common winter hat is because there is no tradition in the east saying snowmen have to have “a silk hat with magic to make them dance around” like a song informs us (paraphrasing the lyrics, of course).  My hypothesis is that a bucket or hat was just a convenient household thing to decorate their winter friend, so the idea stuck although I never found any real answers.

The angry faces in anime?  Maybe it’s a running joke! Ha! I have seen this most of the time in “Pokemon,” but also in “School Rumble” and other anime.  This answer was the one that I really wanted to be answered, but alas, it must remain a beautiful mystery for now, which is fine.

Maybe my research wasn’t groundbreaking, but my passion for Japan grew even more.

If you get decent snow, let’s make a yukidaruma together or a snow rabbit. ^_^

Sayonara, for now, dear friends!  Looking forward to more 2021 adventures with all of you.


*All images came through Google Image search.  All credit and appreciation goes to them.  I also want to thank Kids’ Korner: Winter Wonderland page for some of the information used in this article.


Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice, and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real-life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

For more information about Morgan and her works, check out her website, which also has links to all her social medias: http://morganscomnick.com

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