About Seven Lucky Gods

About Seven Lucky Gods

God, who brings good fortune, is called “Fukujin,” and the representative one is the “Seven Lucky Gods.” It is said that this belief originated in the Muromachi period. Usually, the seven gods of Ebisu, Daikokuten, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Hotei, Fukurokuju, and Jurojin are applied. There is a theory that Jurojin is synonymous with Fukurokuju, so Kichijoten may be used instead of Jurojin. The Seven Lucky Gods are a symbol of good luck and are also used as subjects for painting, sculpture, and performing arts.

The Seven Lucky Gods that bring good fortune to the lives of the ordinary people took root in the way they are today in the mid-Edo period. The drawings during the Edo era also depicts the Seven Lucky Gods on a treasure ship. During New Year’s Day, the Seven Lucky Gods, which also served as the first shrine, was held actively among the ordinary people.

Until then, there were three deities of good fortune and five deities of good fortune, but the gods were not the same. But during the Kyowa years (1801-3), Ebisu, Daikokuten, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Hotei, Fukurokuju, and Jurojin as the current member. In fact, the six gods of these seven gods excepted for Ebisu, are the gods from overseas, such as India and China. It’s an exotic member of vibrant international colors.

Ebisu

He wears a hat on his garments and thimbles. He holds a fishing rod in his right hand and snapper in his left hand—God of maritime protection and prosperity of business.
In the Seven Lucky Gods, he is a purely domestic god. It’s considered to be the son of Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto. He has a crow’s hat, hunting clothes, a fishing rod, and a fish basket. He is depicted as holding a magnificent snapper. It used to be the guardian deity of fishermen but later became a business god. As a god of good fortune, he gathered the faith of the ordinary people in a pair with Daikokuten. The main profits are abundant harvests and prosperous business.

Daikokuten

He wears a hood, a mallet in his right hand, and his left hand holds a large bag on his back and rides on a rice bag. Although it is an Indian god, it is a god of good luck and is widely worshiped by the private sector along with Ebisu. Initially, it is a Hindu god called Mahakala, the incarnation of Shiva, who controls creation and destruction. Although it was introduced as a god of Buddhism, he was later worshiped as a god of good fortune in connection with the great power in Japanese mythology. It has a hammer and a large bag and is depicted with a rice bag and a white rat. Benefits are the abundant harvest of grains, promotion of family production, and prosperity of descendants.

Bishamonten

It has a yellow color and represents anger, wearing armor, and holding a treasure tower in his hand. Another name is Tamonten. It is an Indian god and is believed as a treasure god.
As a god of the Four Devas, it’s a guardian deity of the north, representing treasure. It’s originated a Hindu goddess and was introduced with Buddhism. It is depicted as wearing armor, carrying a spear and a treasure tower, and stepping on an evil spirit. As a god of martial arts in the old days, lots of commanders of samurai armies respected as the faith of wars. He is a God of eternity and is said to give good fortune and help fulfill his long-cherished wishes.

Benzaiten

Sometimes called “Benten” for short. There seem to be various kinds of statues, but the female figure playing the traditional music instrument is the representative statue. Originally an Indian god for agriculture, it later became a god of music, performing arts, and wisdom. It’s the only female god among other the Seven Lucky Gods. Sarabasthi is a water god of ancient Indian mythology and is a princess of Bonten in Hinduism. Often depicted as a beautiful woman playing the instrument called Biwa. It is said to give honor also good fortune.

Hotei

It is said that the Zen Buddhist monk who actually existed in China. He has a big belly and has a cloth bag—the God of Enmity.
He is the only real person in the Seven Lucky Gods. A Zen monk during the war period in China, he wandered around the nations to make prophecies and professions. He was regarded as the incarnation of the Maitreya due to his excellent predictive ability. It features a sweet smile, a potbelly, and a large bag hung on the shoulder. It is a god of goodwill and financial luck.

Fukurokuju

It is said to be from a Chinese hermit. It is short and has a long head, has beards, and has a cane to which sutras are tied. God that bestows longevity. There is confusion with Jurojin.
Like Jurojin, he is a Taoist god and is an incarnation of Antarctica. The benefits of this God are a prosperity of progeny, wealth, and healthy longevity.

Jurojin

It’s short and has gray hair, has a long beard, and has a cane and fan—the God of longevity. There is confusion with Fukurokuju.
As Fukurokuju, it’s a Taoist god, the incarnation of Antarctica. It is depicted as having white hair, a hood, a long beard, and a cane and peach with a sutra, often accompanied by a deer. Both peaches and deer are symbols of longevity. Benefits include longevity, healing of various diseases, the prosperity of wealth and descendants, etc.



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