Japan is home to many inspiring deities and creatures.
Many people are drawn to Japanese art when they’re thinking of getting a new tattoo.
If you’re a lover of Japanese tattoos (Irezumi), you’ve probably seen a lot of fierce expressions on fearsome creatures and masks.
Many mythological or religious figures in Japan will have intimidating expressions on their faces.
This is not an indicator of evil or malintent.
If anything, most of these characters have a protective nature or are very dedicated to their craft.
If you’re wondering “where can I find a Japanese tattoo with a friendly expression?”
You may want to look into an Ebisu tattoo.
Ebisu tattoos are very popular in Japan and beyond.
This round, pleasant looking figure has lent his name to a trendy area in Japan, a beer company, and more.
But who is Ebisu and what makes him so popular?
Let’s take a look at the Japanese deity with a sunny disposition.
Where did he come from, and what does he symbolize?
The Seven Lucky Gods
The Seven Lucky Gods, or Seven Gods of Good Luck and Good Fortune, are pretty self explanatory.
They are a group of seven gods who symbolize different virtues, and people may pay homage to these gods when they are looking for luck in a certain area of their lives.
The gods come from all different corners of Asia.
They were chosen from Shinto, Hindu, Taoist, and Buddhist gods and saints.
Each of the Seven Lucky Gods can be a popular tattoo idea, depending on who you’d like on your side!
Originally, these icons were spoken about separately.
But since being chosen as the Seven Lucky Gods, they may be depicted together in Eastern art.
Some may even choose to get a tattoo of all seven figures- just to cover their bases.
Let’s make a brief introduction on the off chance that Ebisu is not the lucky god for you.
Besides our friend Ebisu, the Seven Gods are:
Hotei represents philanthropy and thriftiness.
He is often depicted as a jolly man surrounded by children, so he is also the patron of children.
With his bald head and round belly, his nickname is the “laughing buddha.”
You are probably very familiar with Hotei as his image is popular worldwide!
Daikoku, the patron of wealth, prosperity, and working in the kitchen.
Because of their mix of commerce and food production, farmers are a natural match with Daikoku.
Benten is the only female out of the group.
She represents love, reasoning abilities, literature, music and fertility.
She represents someone’s artistic and feminine side.
Legend has it Benten married a sea-dragon, which ended the dragon attacks on Enoshima island.
Jurojin represents the wisdom that comes from living a full, long life.
He is usually depicted with a long white beard holding a scroll that is said to contain all the knowledge on earth!
Fukurokuju is the patron of wealth and longevity.
He is said to have the ability to resurrect the dead.
He is often called upon as a patron for magicians, watch makers, and chess players.
In a rather contradictory fashion, Bishamon was chosen as a symbol for happiness and war.
But then, with war being so arduous, it’s nice to know there is a happy patron for those who must fight.
He is a patron for soldiers but also missionaries, priests, and doctors.
Which brings us to our friend, rounding out the Seven Lucky Gods, Ebisu.
Who Is Ebisu And What Does He Symbolize?
The Seven Lucky Gods are from diverse backgrounds.
Ebisu is especially important to Japanese people because he is the only figure in the group who is 100% Indigenous to Japan and Japanese tradition.
Ebisu comes from the Shinto religion which, next to Buddhism, is still the most practiced religion in Japan today.
You may see figurines of Ebisu in shops, restaurants, and religious shrines.
Ebisu is the patron for fishermen and tradesmen.
You may want to have a chat with Ebisu when you are looking for a fair deal in a business related venture.
Always smiling, Ebisu represents wealth and good fortune.
Tradespeople in Japan often turn to Ebisu for guidance and good luck as they navigate their path.
People who work in the food industry often adopt Ebisu as their patron, and some establishments even have his image on their uniform!
Common Themes In Ebisu Tattoos
In tattoo art, Ebisu can stand alone or be combined with other deities, depending on why you’re getting the tattoo.
Ebisu is always smiling, and he has a fluffy moustache.
Ebisu is a round bellied figure, and he is often depicted with his fishing rod.
Different fish have different meanings in Japanese art, and you may choose a fish for your Ebisu tattoo accordingly.
But Ebisu is typically seen with a red snapper, a symbol of good luck.
Ebisu tattoos are normally in color because of his sunny disposition, but you may choose black and grey.
Things To Consider With Your Ebisu Tattoo
Everything in Japanese art has a symbolic meaning, down to each color you choose.
It would be best to have a chat with a Japanese tattoo artist to be sure you’re getting something as meaningful as it is beautiful.
Ebisu Tattoo Ideas
Not sure an Ebisu tattoo is for you?
Check out our gallery for some inky inspiration.
To read more about Japanese style tattoos, go to:
- Japanese Masks Tattoos
- Yokai Tattoos
- Kendo Tattoo
- Daikijin Tattoo
- Kokeshi Doll Tattoo
- Maneki Neko Tattoo
- Fujin Tattoos
- Namakubi Tattoos
- Kabuto Tattoos
- Nue Tattoos
- Karura and Garuda Tattoos
- Kirin Tattoos
- Fudo Myoo Tattoos
- Heikegani Tattoos
- Japanese Snake Tattoos
- Raijin Tattoos
- Foo Dog Tattoos