Daikokuten

大黒天

 

Daikokuten is closely associated with wealth and prosperity. He is the patron kami of farmers and businessmen, and Chiba associates him with the following occupations: advertising agents, artisans, bankers, butchers, carpenters, craftsmen, farmers, financiers, ironworkers, millers, miners, undertakers (p40). He is also very much a household deity and is often considered to be the kami of the kitchen.

There are two theories about Daikokuten's origin: one has it that he was the Mahakala incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva, the other that he was Ōkuni-nushi (80). In Sanskrit "Maha" means "great": the "dai" of Daikokuten can be interpreted as great, Mahakala is typically black in colour, the "koku" of Daikokuten means black. Daikoku and Ōkuni are homophonic: The "Ō" of Ōkuni-nushi is written with the same character as the "Dai" of Daikokuten, 大, while the "kuni" (国) of Ōkuni-nushi can be read as "koku."

Images of Daikokuten always show him with an upraised mallet (uchide-no-kozuke) in his right hand, his head covered with something resembling a beret (daikoku zuikin), and mounted on two bales of rice (kome dawara).  The uchide-no-kozuke is said by Chiba to be made of gold, while Miyata says it is made of earth, either way it represents prosperity. (Daikokuten is sometimes seen as the kami of the five grains). The daikoku zuikin is to prevent him looking up, a sign of modesty. The two bags of rice enjoin  sufficiency, satisfaction with one's lot. He is often pictured with a large bag slung over his back which is said to contain many valuable objects. His facial expression is usually a contented smile but this is a relatively modern development. In his early incarnations the expression he wore was one of anger, resentment, indignation, befitting the Mahakala "great black" connotation.

Main Shrines

Kanda Jinja    神田神社        

Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 2-16-2    

東京都千代田区外神田2-16-22                                

Ōmaeebisu Jinja   大前恵比寿神社   

Tochigi-ken, Mooka-shi, Higashigo 943

栃木県真岡市東郷943                 

Shikitsumatsu-no-Gū     敷津松之宮

Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Shikitsunishi 1-2-12

大阪府大阪市浪速区敷津西1-2-12

Aburakake-Daikokuten Jinja     油掛大黒天神社

Okayama-ken, Okayama-shi, Kita-ku, Yumino-chō 16-8

岡山県岡山市北区弓之町16-8

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© Rod Lucas 2016-2019

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated