Japanese Seven Luckey Gods
The Seven Lucky Gods are the seven gods of good fortune that are believed to come in ships laden with treasures and bring good luck to people, and are modeled after the gods of India. They are modeled on the Indian gods and incorporate characteristics of the Chinese and Japanese gods. The god called Daikokuten stands on a rice sack with an auspicious hammer and a large sack in his hand, and is worshipped as a god of agriculture. Ebisu, holding a fishing rod, is the god of fishing and commerce. The seven gods of good fortune were first enshrined in the Muromachi period and became popular in the Edo period. Even today, many people visit shrines and temples dedicated to the Seven Lucky Gods at New Year’s. The Seven Lucky Gods were first enshrined in the Muromachi Period and became popular in the Edo Period. Japan’s acceptance of pantheistic Shinto and Buddhism, as well as its tolerance of Christianity and other cults, has made it a nation that is open to a wide variety of religions and spirituality. Even during one’s lifetime, individuals seek out different traditions and are generally governed by Shinto rituals, but incorporate superficial elements of Christianity for weddings and return to Buddhism for funerals. As a result, it is difficult to ascertain which religion the Japanese belong to. Even flamboyant fashionistas rarely stick to one designer or brand to the exclusion of the others. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are the most visible expressions of Japanese spirituality, but away from them you can often find other symbolic objects that suggest a spiritual belief system that is not entirely religious. By the side of a shop, on the side of the road, in a park, etc., one may find different kinds of statues suggesting very different spiritual associations. For example, a statue standing outside a drinking establishment, wearing a large straw hat, holding a drink in one hand and a notebook in the other, is a statue of a raccoon. If you come across a statue of the Seven, often chubby-cheeked and older, holding a fish, a stringed instrument, or a large bald head, you’ve stumbled upon an entirely different kind of icon. These statues represent the seven gods of good fortune and are often depicted traveling on a treasure ship or a treasure ship.