|Ebisu is one of
the most popular of the gods, even having a beer named after
him! He's usually shown holding a fish and a fishing pole,
and is considered to be especially good for prosperity in
business, including the fishing business (of course).
has a "lucky hammer" which brings wealth, and he
stands on bales of rice and carries a treasure sack.
Obviously, he brings wealth, and so is often depicted with Ebisu
in shops and businesses. He's also a god of kitchens.
||Fukurokuju is a
god of longevity, virility, and wisdom--like any good
Chinese hermit. He always has a long, dome-shaped head, a cane
with a scroll (containing all the world's wisdom) tied to it,
and a folding fan.
called Benten, is the only woman in the bunch, so she's often
placed in the center. She is a muse--an inspirer of art
and music--so she's often shown with a biwa, or Japanese
lute. A white snake is her familiar.
||Bishamon is a god
of war, and he dresses the part. He is also one of the Shitenno,
featured in another Words
and Pictures today. He carries a pagoda
(wealth-giving, of course) to signify his Buddhist connections.
||Jurojin is also a
god of longevity. I often confuse him with Fukurokuju.
Like Fukurokuju, he carries a staff with a scroll attached, but this
scroll contains the lifespan of all living things.
Although they're not shown here, he is usually accompanied by a
deer--symbol of longevity--and perhaps another long-lived animal
such as a turtle or crane.
||Hotei is a happy
guy--in fact, the god of happy guys. Perhaps the most
popular of the Fukujin, he always has a big
smile--and a big belly, for all the world to see. He
carries a bottomless bag, sort of like Santa Claus (or
Felix's "Bag of Tricks" or Doraemon's
"Pocket"). He is also one Japanese version of
the Chinese Mi-le-fo.