Ebisu (mythology)

Ebisu (mythology)

Ebisu (恵比須, 恵比寿, 夷, 戎) "Audio|Ebisu.ogg|listen", also transliterated Yebisu or called Hiruko (蛭子) or Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami (事代主神), is the Japanese god of fishermen, good luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children. He is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神, "Shichifukujin"), and the only one of the seven to originate from Japan.

Origins as Hiruko

Ebisu was originally named "Hiruko", meaning "leech child". He was the first child of Izanagi and Izanami, born without bones (or, in some stories, without arms and legs) due to his mother's transgression during the marriage ritual. Hiruko struggled to survive but, as he could not stand, he was cast to the sea in a boat of reeds before his third birthday.cite web
url = http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kojiki.htm
title = Kojiki
accessdate = 2006-09-09
author = B.H. Chamberlain, translator
year = 1882
] He eventually washed ashore — possibly in Ezo (蝦夷, ancient Hokkaidō) — and was cared for by the Ainu "Ebisu Saburo" (戎三郎).

Ebisu Biography

The weak child overcame many hardships, grew legs (and, presumably, the rest of his skeletal structure) at the age of three, and became the god Ebisu. He remains slightly crippled and deaf, but mirthful and auspicious nonetheless (hence the title, "The Laughing God"). He is often depicted wearing a tall hat — the "Kazaori Eboshi" (風折烏帽子) — holding a rod and a large red bream or sea bass. Jellyfish are also associated with the god and the fugu restaurants of Japan will often incorporate Ebisu in their motif.

Ebisu's festival is celebrated on the twentieth day of the tenth month, "Kannazuki" (the month without gods). While the other eight million members of the Japanese pantheon gather at The Grand Shrine of Izumo, Ebisu does not hear the summons and is thus still available for worship.

Ebisu is frequently paired with Daikokuten, another of the Seven Gods of Fortune, in displays of the twin patrons by small shopkeepers. In some versions of the myth they are father and son (or master and apprentice). Also, these two are often joined by Fukurokuju to be the "Three Gods of Good Fortune".

In Popular Culture

The urban fashion brand name [http://www.evisu.com/ Evisu] is named after Ebisu.

Ebisu is the name of a jounin sensei in the popular show Naruto.

Ebisu inspired professional wrestler Mitsunobu Kikuzawa to create his comedic character Ebetaro.

References


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