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Shichifuku-Jin:  The Seven Japanese Deities of Good Fortune

Excerpted from A LOOK INTO JAPAN, 1996, by The Japan Travel Bureau, Inc.
 

The "Shichifukujin," or the Seven Deities of Good Fortune, include six gods and a goddess, and they come from various sources such as Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism, Brahmanism, etc.

"Daikoku," the god of wealth, wears a hood and holds a big bag filled with treasures on his left shoulder and an "uchide-no-kozuchi" (a lucky mallet) in his right hand.

"Ebisu," the god of fishermen, holds a big red "tai," or sea bream, under this left arm and a fishing rod in his right hand.

"Fukurokuju" and "Jurojin" (the aged gods of wealth and longevity) inhabit the same body, that of a long-headed old man. He holds a cane with a "makimono" (scroll) tied around it and an "ogi" (folding fan).

"Hotei," the god of contentment and happiness, holds a big bag and an "ogi" (a folding fan). He is said to be the only human being among the "Shichifukujin."

"Bishamonten," the god of warriors, wears armor and carries a small pagoda.

"Benzaiten," the goddess of eloquence, music and wisdom, plays the "biwa" (Japanese mandolin).

A second goddess called "Kisshoten" is sometimes included among the "Shichifukujin."
 

The "Shichifukujin" are said to enter port on a "takarabune" (a ship laden with treasure) on New Year's Eve to bring happiness to everybody.  Pictures and "takarabune" decorations are one of the ornaments used at New Year for good luck.
 


 


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