Hotei is the Japanese God of Fortune. He is also the guardian of children, and more fabulously and comedic, he is the patron of diviners and barmen. All barmen need a guardian, and having Hotei also shows a great sense of humour amongst the Japanese, whether it be myth or legend. Hotei is a large man, overweight with a great belly that he never covers, he always has a smile, has no hair but a very curly moustache, and a great sense of humour.
Hotei reminds the Japanese to laugh. He is the God of popularity, reminding people to have fun, be mischievous but be wise. His traits are that of happiness, contentment and kind heartedness.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="568"] Laughing Hotei by Keisai Eisen[/caption]
It is thought that Hotei’s real name was Kaishi and that he was a Chinese Zen Priest. He wanders without ever settling, unless under a tree for a couple of hours. He carries a bag over his shoulder which is loaded with good fortunes. The good fortunes are given to those who believe in Hotei’s virtues.
Having paintings or sketches of Hotei in your home is thought to be good luck, as well as good reminders to people to live their lives to the full, to always be kind, to be jovial and to bless people along the way. You more you bless Hotei, the more you will be blessed in your own life.
Hotei was the God of fortune in the Edo era and is one of the most respected Gods ever, a real Japanese legend.