The Japanese god Raiijin is the god of intense weather, including thunder, lightning and storms.  The Raijin name literally means ‘thunderstorm’ and that is exactly what Raiijin looks like.    He face is fierce and frightening, just like a thunderstorm, and his body is strong and muscular.  Raiijin’s hair is full and thick, wild and almost out of control.  It defies gravity in the same way lightning does.

The images of Raiijin are about strength too.  He is always pictured playing the Taiko Drums, drums that create the sound of rolling thunder.  He plays the drums not with delicate hands but with heavy and strong hammers.  Raiijin represents nature that is unpredictable, but protects people from unpredictable weather too.  His one hand has just three fingers, thought to signify the present, the past and the future.

Raiijin was born to the divine gods Izanagi and Izanami, when Japan was first created.  The legends surrounding his birth are dark and fierce, with myth saying that Raiijin came from Izanami’s dead body.  She later sent him to chase after Izanagi, when he betrayed her.

There are many images of Raiijin on the market, being one of the more popular gods, once who was not scared of anything, while remaining mischievous and playful, as well as responsible for those good crops and great harvests.

Japanese people are devoted to their gods and legends and it is thought that during thunderstorms parents tell their children to hide their belly buttons.  If their belly buttons are visible, Raiijin may come and eat them.
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