英語で説明する 日本の縁起物 に続き、今回は福をもたらす七体の神として大変有名な「七福神」を英語で説明する表現をご紹介していきます。

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  • the Seven Lucky Gods
  • the Seven Gods of (good) fortune
  • seven deities of fortune


deity とは多神教における神々のことで、「神格」や「神性」の意味もあります。

Shihifukujin are the seven deities that bring good fortune.

Shichifukujin, the Seven Gods of Good Fortune are believed to arrive on a ship full of treasures and bring people good luck.

They are often depicted on a Takarabune, or treasure ship, which carries the seven Gods.

It has been said that people in Japan, following the story of seven holy men in ancient China, put together seven Gods of good luck and came to believe in them.

Shichifukujin were first worshipped in the Muromachi period and became popular in the Edo period.

Making a tour of shrines or temples which enshrine these seven Gods during New Year’s Day is a popular event for wishing for good luck.

The Seven Lucky Gods of Japan, Shichifukujin, are an eclectic group of deities from Japan, India, and China. Only one is native to Japan (Ebisu) and Japanese indigenous Shinto tradition.

Three are from the Hindu-Buddhist pantheon of India (Daikokuten, Bishamonten, and Benzaiten) and three are Gods from Chinese Taoist-Buddhist traditions (Hotei, Fukurokuju, and Jurōjin).

Shichifukujin consist of a Japanese deity, Ebisu, the Indian deities Daikoku, Bishamonten, and Benzaiten, and the Chinese deities Fukurokuju, Hotei and Jurōjin.
(七福神は、日本の恵比寿神、インドの大黒天、毘沙門天、弁財天、そして中国の福禄寿、布袋、寿老人の7人の神様です。→ consist of「〜で構成されている」)

Fukurokuju and Jurōjin are said to inhabit the same body. In addition, the two are so similar that they are easily mistaken for one another.

大黒天 / Daikokuten

the god of agriculture, prosperity, and commerce

Daikokuten is one of the Seven Lucky Gods.

He stands on bags of rice with a lucky mallet and a big sack in his hands, is the god of agriculture.

In the sack slung over his left shoulder, he carries precious things.

He is the god of wealth and guardian of farmers and is well known for his happy-looking smile

His portly belly implies he is well-fed and prosperous.

People who dream of financial riches tend to worship this god.

In addition to giving a good harvest to farmers, he is a god who ensures prosperity and wealth in commerce.

He is often depicted with carrying a lucky mallet in his right hand, a bag of treasures slung over his back, and sitting on two rice bags.

恵比寿 / Ebisu

the god of prosperity, commerce, and fishing

Ebisu is one of the Seven Lucky Gods and is the only one to have his origins in Japan.

Also known as Yebisu, he is the god of fishing and commerce.

Ebisu holds a fishing rod in his right hand and a large red sea bream in his left, representing a thriving business and a good harvest in the fishing industry.

Ebisu is very popular among the people who works in the food industry.

Ebisu is the patron of fishermen and is believed to ensure safe journeys for all seafarers.

His trademark is a large sea bream, which dangles from a rod in his right hand or is carried under his left arm.

Ebisu has a cheerful smile and wears a pointed hunter’s cap (eboshi).

He is depicted as a stout, bearded, smiling fisherman carrying a rod in one hand and a tai (sea bream) in the other.

Sea bream is one of the Japanese symbols of auspicious.

Tai, or sea bream, is considered a celebratory fish in Japan because its name sounds like the Japanese word “medetai,” which means auspicious.

毘沙門天 / Bishamonten

the god of warriors who defends humans against evil spirits

Bishamonten is one of the Seven Lucky Gods and is a deity of wealth and warriors.

He is known as a fierce and powerful protective god.

Originally from Indian Buddhism, Bishamonten is the god of warriors (not war) and is also a god of defense against evil.

The bearded Bishamonten is depicted as dressed in full armor and carrying a spear in one hand and a miniature pagoda in the other.

福禄寿 / Fukurokuju

the god of wisdom and longevity

Fukurokuju is a deity believed to provide happiness, riches, and longevity.

One of the Seven Lucky Gods is Fukurokuju, who is famous for his elongated head, the immense store of wisdom he keeps in it.

Brought from China’s Taoist-Buddhist traditions, Fukurokuju is the god of wealth, happiness, and longevity.

Fukurokuju’s appearance is similar to Jurōjin’s and he is thought to share his body with Jurōjin.

He is occasionally accompanied by a crane or by another animal which symbolizes longevity.

弁財天 / Benzaiten

the goddess of the arts and knowledge

She is originally the Hindu goddess of water.

Benzaiten is one of the Seven Luck Gods and is considered to be a goddess of knowledge, eloquence, and the arts.

Benzaiten is the only female deity among the Shichifukujin and always carries a Japanese mandolin (biwa).

Her common form is a beautiful woman dressed in a flowing Chinese-style dress and playing the biwa, sometimes the flute.

布袋 / Hotei

the god of happiness and good fortune

Hotei is a deity of good fortune represented by a round face and full figure

He is thought to be the incarnation of Maitreya (miroku Bosatsu), a Buddhist saint.

Outside Japan, he is known as “Laughing Buddha.”

He is depicted as a cheerful man with a huge belly symbolising his benevolent soul.

Hotei is the god of happiness with a large exposed belly and happy, smiling face.

He always carries a hand fan and a large cloth sack full of riches over his shoulder.

寿老人 / Jurōjin

the god of longevity and good health

Jurōjin is the god of longevity, sometimes confused with Fukurokuju.

He is usually represented with customary clothes of a Chinese scholar, holding a sturdy walking stick to support himself in his advancing years.

He carries a knobby stick with a scroll and is often seen with a deer.

He is depicted as an old man with a long white beard, holding a walking stick with a scroll tied to it.


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