This Nogomi figurine represents a Mimizuku, otherwise known as an eagle owl, one of the animals used as a model to create Totoro, the famous Hayao Miyazaki creature. In Japan it is a symbol of luck and protection. In addition to being a figurine, it is also a terracotta bell, to be shaken to invoke good wishes. In 1945, at the end of the war, Teruji Suzuta, celebrated textile artist, father of the living national treasure Shigeto Suzuta, began to create Nogomi figurines, referring to the tradition of the Kashima area, in Saga prefecture. He started selling them inside the Yutoku Inari Shrine as an amulet and good luck charm and they have since become a symbol of Saga prefecture. Being handmade, they are all slightly different and some imperfections are possible.