Japanese mythology features numerous deities, each possessing unique qualities and virtues. Among them is Kichijoten, the goddess of beauty, art, and abundance. Revered throughout Japan, Kichijoten is known for her elegance and blessings bestowed upon those who honor her. From her captivating stories, such as the legend of the flower blossom that brought beauty to barren lands, to the tale of the moon princess who fell in love with a mortal man. These stories hold profound significance and help us understand more about Japanese mythology and the impact Kichijoten had on the people of Japan.
Overview of Kichijoten
Kichijoten has many names, including Kisshoten (Heavenly Good Omen), Kisshotennyo (Heavenly Woman of Auspicious Good Fortune), and Kudokuten (Heavenly Virtuous Honors) (“Kichijoten”). All of these names emphasize her association with good fortune and prosperity. Furthermore, as one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Kichijoten occupies a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people. Devoted followers celebrate Kichijoten through various festivals and rituals dedicated to her, where people come together to honor her and seek her blessings. Through these practices, Kichijoten’s influence extends beyond mere mythology and into the lives of those who revere her.
- Goddess of Beauty
- Goddess of Auspicious Signs
- Patroness of Artists
- Guardian of the Arts
- Granter of Prosperity and Fertility
- Bestower of Longevity and Happiness
- Protector of Love and Compassion
Kichijoten, the revered goddess of beauty, is believed to possess many extraordinary abilities. Her unparalleled beauty and allure captivate all who encounter her, and her benevolent influence extends to various domains. She is credited with the power to bring abundance and prosperity into the lives of her devotees and is associated with fertility, and bestowing blessings upon couples seeking children. Kichijoten is worshiped primarily by women, as all of her domains intersect with women, and this is partly her inheritance from Lakshmi (“Kichijoten”). Moreover, her benevolent influence extends to the realm of art, where she inspires creativity and artistic endeavors, encouraging artists to channel their talents for the benefit of humanity.
The goddess is often depicted as an exquisitely beautiful being with fair skin and captivating features. Her graceful bearing and ethereal charm make her the embodiment of elegance and allure. Kichijoten often has long hair, symbolizing vitality and abundance, and commonly wears ornate robes adorned with vibrant colors and intricate patterns, reflecting her association with art and beauty. In her hand, she often holds a peacock feather or a gem emblem of her divine presence, the feather being a symbol of beauty and good fortune, and the Nyoihoju gem appears in both Indian and Japanese art, having the power to grant wishes (Greenberg and PhD).
Kichijoten is known for her compassionate and kind nature, as well as her deep love for humanity. She embodies the qualities of a loving mother figure, offering comfort and guidance to those who seek her aid. Her ability to inspire love and foster harmonious relationships among individuals is widely admired, and her grace and wisdom are considered to be of great value. Kichijoten’s benevolent spirit is rooted in a deep understanding of human desires, and she is driven by a desire to bring happiness and fulfillment to all. With her gentle and nurturing demeanor, Kichijoten is revered as a powerful force for good, offering support and guidance to all who seek it.
Kichijoten holds immense significance and influence in all aspects of beauty, prosperity, and good fortune. The goddess is symbolized by many things, with the peacock being the most prominent symbol. The peacock’s iridescent feathers represent the goddess’s regal appearance and the ability to captivate with its vibrant hues. Additionally, the Nyoihoju gem is another symbol associated with Kichijoten. Commonly referred to as hōju, hōju-no-tama, or nyoi houju in Japan, this jewel holds immense significance as it bestows blessings upon those who suffer. It is said to grant wishes, pacify desires, and bring a clear understanding of the Dharma or Buddhist law (“The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel”). The Nyoihoju gem is a powerful symbol of Kichijoten’s benevolence and her desire to bring joy and good fortune to all those who seek her blessings.
Festivals and Rituals
In Japan, Kichijoten is celebrated annually during the Kisshouten Matsuri festival in various regions of Japan. The festival serves as a platform for people to express their devotion and gratitude to the goddess of beauty and arts. The word “Matsuri” refers to comfort, prayer, and the expression of gratitude to the ritual of Nature, and it originates from the indigenous God (Shamanism), Shinto, or Buddhism (“What Is the Matsuri (Japanese Cultural Festival)? – ANA”). During the vibrant celebration, participants engage in traditional dances, music performances, and art exhibitions, all paying homage to Kichijoten. The festival provides a showcase for artists to exhibit their talents and express gratitude to the goddess. Devotees also offer prayers and make offerings at shrines dedicated to Kichijoten, seeking her blessings for prosperity, fertility, and happiness in their lives.
Legends associated with Kichijoten
The fascinating mythology and cultural significance of the Japanese goddess Kichijoten can be seen through the legends surrounding her. Known as the embodiment of beauty, art, and abundance, her origins and tales have captivated generations of worshippers. This section delves into the enchanting legends surrounding Kichijoten, shedding light on her creation and showcasing her enduring influence across different narratives.
There are multiple versions regarding the origin of Kichijoten, a goddess known for her association with beauty and fertility. One such interpretation suggests that she is a fusion of earlier goddesses, including the Indian goddess Lakshmi and the Buddhist goddess Hariti. This conflation of deities reflects the influence of various religions, notably Buddhism, on the formation of Kichijoten’s character and attributes (“Kichijoten”). The amalgamation of diverse cultural and religious elements contributed to developing her unique identity as the goddess of beauty and abundance.
The Blossom of Beauty
As per a widely known tale, the followers of Kichijoten knew of her powers to bestow beauty upon those she favored. The story goes that a young lady named Otohime was deeply worried about her village, which was facing a severe drought, leading to a lack of crops and dwindling beauty among the villagers. Otohime sought the blessings of the goddess of beauty, and her sincere prayers drew the attention of Kichijoten, who appeared before her as a stunning woman holding a peacock feather. The goddess was impressed by Otohime’s sincerity and gave her the task of planting the feather in the heart of the village. Kichijoten promised Otohime that beauty would blossom alongside the peacock feather when it took root. Otohime followed the instructions obediently and planted the feather as directed. Soon enough, the village transformed into a haven of natural and human beauty, blessed by the goddess of beauty, Kichijoten. The beauty of the people and the surroundings were restored, and the villagers were overjoyed with the transformation that had taken place (“Kichijoten”).
The Moon Princess and the Celestial Realm
According to ancient folklore, there is a tale of a moon princess who fell in love with a mortal man. However, their love was forbidden, and the princess could not join her beloved on Earth. In her desperation to be with him, the moon princess turned to Kichijoten, the goddess associated with love, beauty, and the arts, for assistance. Moved by the couple’s sad circumstances, Kichijoten decided to intervene. The goddess granted the moon princess the ability to visit her lover during the cherry blossom season when the boundaries between the celestial realm and the mortal world were thin. As the cherry blossoms bloomed, symbolizing the fleeting beauty of life, the moon princess would descend to Earth and reunite with her lover under Kichijoten’s watchful gaze. This enchanting legend beautifully highlights the goddess’s connection to love, romance, and the ephemeral beauty of nature (Greenberg and PhD).
Influences of other religions/cultures on Kichijoten
Kichijoten, the Japanese goddess of beauty, fertility, and benevolence, is a fascinating example of how different religions and cultures can influence each other. As Buddhism became more prominent in Japan, Kichijoten’s character and attributes intertwined with Buddhist iconography. In some depictions, she was a manifestation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. This syncretic approach to religion, where deities from different traditions come together to create a cohesive spiritual landscape, is a defining feature of Japanese religious practices. Incorporating Kichijoten into Buddhist beliefs solidified her role as a symbol of beauty, fertility, and benevolence. Overall, Kichijoten’s story is a testament to the power of cross-cultural exchange and the richness of embracing diverse perspectives (“Discover the Beauty and Mystery of the Japanese Goddess of Beauty: Kichijoten – Old World Gods”).
Throughout history, Kichijoten has symbolized everything that has to do with beauty, artistry, and prosperity. Her influence embeds itself through many forms of artistic expression, from traditional paintings and sculptures to modern-day manga and anime. As a central figure in beauty rituals and practices, people have sought her blessings for physical attractiveness and a radiant aura. Despite being less well-known than some of the other members of the Seven Lucky Gods, Kichijoten’s influence is still present in various forms of popular culture. For instance, in CLAMP’s manga RG Veda, Kisshoten is depicted as the wife of Bishamonten and the daughter of the former king, who remains loyal to her husband despite his questionable behavior. Overall, Kichijoten remains a captivating and intriguing figure whose legacy lives on (“Kichijoten”).
Kichijoten, the alluring Japanese deity of beauty, artistry, and abundance, continues to captivate and inspire individuals with her divine presence. As the patroness of artists, a granter of blessings, and an embodiment of beauty, Kichijoten remains a crucial figure in Japanese mythology and culture. The festivals and rituals devoted to her are lively expressions of devotion and gratitude, ensuring that her influence endures across generations. By embracing the spirit of Kichijoten, people are encouraged to seek inner beauty, foster their creativity, and manifest prosperity in their lives, ultimately embodying the divine essence of this revered goddess in their daily pursuits.
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“What Is the Matsuri (Japanese Cultural Festival)? – ANA.” ANA, 2018, www.ana.co.jp/en/kh/japan-travel-planner/japanese-festival-omatsuri/0000001.html#:~:text=The%20original%20purpose%20of%20the. Accessed 11 July 2023.