The god of wealth and farmers, Daikoku wears a hat and usually stands on bales of rice, carries a large sack of treasure slung over his shoulder, holds the “Mallet of Good Fortune” and is sometimes accompanied by mice or a radish. Daikoku is also the deity of the kitchen, a provider of food, and one of the “Seven Gods of Good Fortune” in Japan. The “Three Friends of Winter” appear in this panel as well. Instead of rice bales, Daikoku stands on two fans with patterns of pine and bamboo. Plum blossoms decorate his sack. His large ear lobes are an auspicious physical trait.

Ebisu and Daikoku

Ebisu and Daikoku are the two of the “Seven Gods of Good Fortune” that are most commonly paired. On this panel, Daikoku has the more rounded hat. Ebisu, here with a fold visible in his hat, is the god of fishermen and tradesmen. He is usually dressed like an ancient Japanese aristocrat and carries a fishing rod and a large red sea bream (tai). Both gods have the auspicious physical trait of large earlobes.


Hotei is the god of contentment and happiness, and is another member of Japan’s “Seven Gods of Good Fortune.” He has a cheerful face and a big belly that bulges out of his monk’s robes. Hotei carries a large cloth bag of riches that never empties in order to provide for the less fortunate. The Japanese characters for "ho tei" literally mean "cloth bag." Here he is depicted sitting next to his bag. He also holds a Chinese fan. It is sometimes called a “wish-giving” fan because tradition holds that ancient aristocrats used the fan to indicate to underlings that their requests would be granted.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller