Portrayals of Daruma by Zen artists can be quite fanciful, with little regard for physical reality, and Awakawa is poking gentle fun at artists such as himself (and Picasso) who put eyes, ears, noses, and mouths in strange configurations to form human faces. Of course, the goal in both Zen and abstract art is to capture not what is real but what is true. Daruma's truth is "Look inside and become Buddha!"
Awakawa was a professor of economics who fell in love with Zen art. He built a Zen art gallery at his home, and his book Zen Painting introduced this wonderful art form to the world at large. Awakawa himself did zenga in the Sengai style: brushed in light gray shades with zany, cartoon-like composition.