Japanese culture often refers to itself as kami no kuni (the land of gods), although most Japanese do not believe in one monotheistic deity but instead revere multiple deities as kami who represent different aspects of nature.
One such kami is Raijin, the god associated with storms. His younger sibling Susanoo represents mischief and love respectively.
Bishamonten is one of the seven gods of luck in Japan and known for being both war’s god and temple guardian. A deity combining elements from Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. Representing an armor-clad warrior carrying wealth he is considered patron to warriors and protector of those living virtuously; often depicted wearing full armour wearing yellow headdress and carrying spear or miniature pagoda as part of his emblematic form.
Vaisravana was initially the Hindu god Kubera; in Buddhism he is known by another name, Vaisravana. When he came to Japan he took on the form of Vaisravana who then came to symbolize charity and protection as ideals of charity and protection in warfare and protection – eventually becoming associated with this form. When fighting began in Japan he adopted this persona; nowadays seen in shrines throughout Japan armed as his patron deity of fighters and protection.
He is the Lord of Fortune and Wealth, protecting those who abide by moral boundaries and live virtuous lives. As a very powerful deity, his influence can alter the course of history itself! He provides excellent spiritual guidance for anyone striving to strengthen themselves spiritually as well as fighting evil and violating moral boundaries.
When angered, he will destroy anyone attempting to dishonor him, such as thieves or those cheating others; or anyone trying to take away another’s honor. While it might seem harsh at times, such punishment serves as a stark reminder that honor is one of Japan’s highest values and any attempt at its diminution cannot be forgiven.
In the Sixth Century, he joined other Japanese gods in their battle against anti-Buddhist forces that were invading their homeland and was believed to be one of their divine Emperors’ ancestors.
Benzaiten is one of the most beloved and revered mythological entities in Japanese mythology, revered as goddess of music, knowledge, and wealth. She can be traced back to Sarasvati – a Hindu deity who coexisted alongside Buddhism in India before coming to Japan through the Golden Light Sutra – reflecting one way she has come to represent Japanese cultural influences that have helped form her character.
The goddess of music and learning is revered as an egalitarian figure who doesn’t discriminate on any basis of social status or gender, believing she has the ability to connect with all beings through art. She serves as patron for artists, poets, writers, geisha and dancers; also frequently appearing at shrines of samurais where she may be depicted wearing kimono dressed like women with musical instruments in hand, children or even as snakes!
Although Benzaiten is often revered as a Buddhist deity, she has since been integrated into Shinto Buddhism of Japan due to the syncretic nature of Japanese religious practices: Buddhism had already made its mark in both Indian and Chinese culture before spreading across to Japan.
As such, Benzaiten can often be found at both Shinto and Buddhist temples. She serves as both a kami (spirit) in Shinto religion, often joining Amenominakanushi – God of Wisdom- as part of an ensemble of Goddesses of Culture. Furthermore, as Goddess of Money and Fortune she often acts as guardian deity of businesses that specialize in educational or cultural services.
Benzaiten can also be seen as a form of the Japanese fertility kami Ugajin. She is associated with water, often appearing at places of worship near rivers, lakes or ponds; she may even be linked with dragon gods since snakes were an iconic sign of prosperity in East Asia.
Daikokuten is one of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods, yet his scope extends far beyond this group. Often depicted as a smiling god associated with abundance and prosperity, Daikokuten hides a fierce warrior that functions to destroy evil spirits while protecting businesses and agriculture against financial losses.
Daikokuten in Japanese mythology is a combination of two Indian gods. His original name was Mahakala, or Great Black God in India; over time though he slowly transformed into an emblem of good fortune due to him adopting many of the same kanji from Okuninushi who used to rule earthly kami in Shinto mythology; these two deities ultimately fused together into what we know as Daikokuten today.
Daikokuten’s story also draws upon Buddhist elements. He is thought to be an interpretation of Avalokitesvara from Hindu mythology who eventually made their way over to Japan where their stories were modified and adopted to fit local customs, becoming part of Japan’s Shichifukujin or Seven Lucky Gods.
Like Benzaiten, Daikokuten also has strong links with India. His kanji reads identically to Okuninushi’s, so his role in earthly kami was associated with both gods; ultimately this evolved into one god responsible for both land and food production – typically depicted sitting upon bales of rice as patron deity of grain production, often with mice or rats symbolizing his abundance of produce bringing abundance in return.
People often make offerings to Daikokuten in order to gain his blessings. His statue is therefore widely revered and can be found throughout Japan in homes and restaurants; even it is possible to steal one and sell it off at temple end-of-year sales for some extra cash – a practice known as fukunusubi!
Susanoo, or the god of sea and storms in Japan, is an intricate yet morally dubious deity who is highly revered. As one of Shintoism’s most revered kami and powerful deities, Susanoo has brought many cultural benefits to Japan – particularly agriculture – while also playing an active part in fighting Yamata no Orochi (Yamata’s monster).
Ebisu, the goddess of fishing, shipping and commerce. Represented by a pigeon, this kami is popular with merchants who pray to him in hopes that their prayers bring prosperity. She’s also believed to protect children, while representing Honesty as her virtue.
Japanese has another term for Gods called tentei (literally meaning “Supreme Deity”). This can refer both to Christianity’s God or ancient Chinese deities like Tian Di and Xuanzang. Ten and Shu are two elements that comprise this term; “ten” stands for sky and “shu” stands for master.
According to Japanese mythology, Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi were created when Izanagi washed her eyes and nose while pregnant with them. Izanagi then created their sons and daughters by washing other parts of their body; washing the left eye created Amaterasu while right eye washing brought forth Tsukuyomi as their goddess; finally washing Izanagi’s nose birthed sea god Susanoo.
Susanoo was the brother of Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi. A wild god of sea and storms, sometimes associated with piracy. After offending his sister Amaterasu he was banished from heaven; while returning to Earth he defeated Yamata no Orochi (an eight-headed dragon) and took its tail in order to retrieve Kusanagi as a peace offering to Amaterasu.
At one point in his life, Susanoo met and married a young girl whom they later had offspring with; one such offspring being Okuninushi who later founded Izumo’s ruling dynasty. Susanoo is often depicted with wild hair blowing in the wind while wielding a sword in art pieces depicting him.