Friday, January 4, 2008
Ebisu, who are you?
We live in Hiroo (pronounced "hee-roh-oh" with a rolled "r"), but we are very close to an area called Ebisu ("eh-bee-soo"). Here next to the Ebisu train station is a statue of the god of commerce himself. He is also known as the god of fishermen and good fortune (see the big fish, a sea bream, under his left arm?).
Ebisu is one of the most popular of the Seven Lucky Gods; one website says he "symbolizes not only safe sailing and plentiful fishing, but business prosperity for merchants in all trades."
In the Kojiki, Japan's oldest chronicle (c. 720 AD), Ebisu was born Hiruko-no-Mikoto, the third son of the Shinto gods Izanagi-no-Mikoro and Izanami-no-Mikoto, the progenitors of the islands of Japan. Hiruko was born without any bones (?!) so he was cast out into the ocean at age three. He came back somehow, and was cared for by one Ebisu Saburo, and eventually he became the god Ebisu. Will need to research this some more...