Here is a brief introduction to the Seven Gods of Good fortune.

Hotei is know of as the God of Happiness, or more commonly the Laughing Buddha, and is magnanimous and known to be generous with the gifts that he carries slung over his shoulder in cloth bag that is said to never empty. He is often referred to as the Santa of Japan.






Jyuroujin is the the God of longevity and is usually presented as an old man with a staff.  He may also be accompanied with animals that represent long life such as deer, cranes or tortoises.







Fukurokujuzin is the God of happiness, wealth and longevity and it is said that he is a philosopher who can survive without eating.







Bishimon is the God of warriors and and is often portrayed with a spear in one hand and a small pagoda in the other, said to symbolize the treasure house, which he guards and from which he bestows gifts upon the faithful.







Benzai is actually a Goddess whose name means flowing water.  As such she is the deity of grace or charm but is also know as Benten, the Goddess of knowledge, art and beauty and music – everything that can be said to flow.







Daikoku is considered the God of the household, particularly the kitchen, or the God of wealth.  He often caries a mallet called a Uchide Nokozuchi, commonly referred to in English as a magic money mallet, and is commonly depicted seated on bales of rice.   An image of Daikoku was featured on the first Japanese banknote in 1885.






Ebisu is the deity associated with fishers and merchants.  He is often depicted laughing and has a big belly.  Yebisu Beer, brewer by Sapporo, is named after this auspicious deity, and an image of him adorns the label in a traditional pose holding a fishing rod and a seam bream.