Shichi-Fuku-Jin Sculptures in Ito

Introducing the Seven Lucky Gods

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

Walking in Ito I came across some nice sculptures of the Shichi-Fuku-Jin, deities whose images are often pictured sailing in one boat. They are particularly popular before the New Year when people offer their well wishes for the coming year. I wanted to learn who is who amongst those seven.

Fukurokuju is pictured as old man with a large head and a beard, often accompanied by a crane. He originated from China and can create a lot of miracles. The component parts of his name refer to happiness (fuku), reward for hard work (roku) and longevity (ju). His scroll carries the wisdom of the world while his fan attracts good luck and drives away evil.

Fukurokuju
Fukurokuju

Daikokuten comes from India and is pictured as a good-hearted man of large girth sitting on two sacks of rice. He can also be recognised by a hood and a bag of treasure representing wisdom and patience. In his right hand is a mallet and each hit of it fulfills a wish.

Daikokuten
Daikokuten

Ebisu is of Japanese origin and is one of the most loved of the Seven. He is the god of trade, homes and rice fields. Being a protector of fishermen, he holds a large fish and brings good luck in fishing.

Ebisu
Ebisu

Hotei in Japanese mean ‘a bag’ and from his bag Hotei gives anybody that which they need. Hotei has a large belly as the Japanese believe that the belly is the location of the life energy.

Hotei
Hotei

Jurojin is an old man with a scroll containing the secrets of a long and happy life. This god brings longevity and comes with its symbols - a turtle, a deer or a crane.

Jurojin
Jurojin

Bishamonten is the guardian of the North wearing armour, a sword or a trident. He’s also the guardian of Buddhist temples, the god of war and the patron of the martial arts.

Bishamonten
Bishamonten

Benten is the goddess of the arts - music, poetry, painting and literature as well as the patron of water.

Benten
Benten

An interesting fact is that Japanese nesting doll Shichi-Fuku-Jin was the prototype for the Russian nesting doll Matryoshka back in the beginning of the 20th century.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: https://gurushots.com/f10384/photos Matane!

Join the discussion

Sleiman Azizi a week ago
It looks as Bishamonten is trying not to smile!
Elena Lisina Author a week ago
He's the only one 'serious' in this company! :D
Kim B a week ago
We have a temple in our town called Bishamondo, dedicated to Bishamonten!
Elena Lisina Author a week ago
Maybe because Bishamonten is the guardian of the North?