Fūjin

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The Japanese wind god Fujin, Sotatsu, 17th century. Fujin.jpg
The Japanese wind god Fūjin, Sōtatsu, 17th century.

Fūjin(風神) or Futen is the Japanese god of the wind and one of the eldest Shinto gods.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Wind Flow of gases or air on a large scale

Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On the surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the Sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space. Winds are commonly classified by their spatial scale, their speed, the types of forces that cause them, the regions in which they occur, and their effect. The strongest observed winds on a planet in the Solar System occur on Neptune and Saturn. Winds have various aspects, an important one being its velocity ; another the density of the gas involved; another its energy content or wind energy. Wind is also a great source of transportation for seeds and small birds; with time things can travel thousands of miles in the wind.

Shinto Japanese traditional folk religion

Shinto or kami-no-michi is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.

Contents

He is portrayed as a terrifying wizard-like demon, resembling a red headed green-skinned humanoid wearing a leopard skin, carrying a large bag of winds on his shoulders.

Leopard species of mammal

The leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia. The leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been extirpated. Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range. Leopards are hunted illegally, and their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration.

In Japanese art, the deity is often depicted together with Raijin, the god of lightning, thunder and storms.

Raijin

Raijin (雷神), also known as Raiden-sama, Yakusa no ikazuchi no kami, Kaminari-sama, and Narukami, is a god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology. The name "Raijin" is derived from the Japanese words kaminari(, "thunder") and kami(, "god"). He is typically depicted as a demon-looking spirit beating drums to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums.

Lightning Atmospheric discharge of electricity

Lightning is a violent and sudden electrostatic discharge where two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves, usually during a thunderstorm.

Thunder sound caused by lightning

Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance from and nature of the lightning, it can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble (brontide). The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave, similar to a sonic boom, often referred to as a "thunderclap" or "peal of thunder".

Myths

According to Kojiki , Fujin (Shinatsuhiko) was born from Izanami.

<i>Kojiki</i> 8th century Japanese myths compilation

Kojiki, also sometimes read as Furukotofumi, is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century (711–712) and composed by Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei. The Kojiki is a collection of myths, early legends, songs, genealogies, oral traditions and semi-historical accounts down to 641 concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago, and the Kami (神). The myths contained in the Kojiki as well as the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) are part of the inspiration behind many practices. Later, the myths were re-appropriated for Shinto practices such as the misogi purification ritual.

Shinatsuhiko is a Japanese mythological god of wind (Fūjin). Another name for this deity is Shinatobe, which originally may have been a separate goddess of wind.

Izanami goddess of Shinto religion

In Japanese mythology, Izanami no mikoto is a goddess of both creation and death, as well as the former wife of the god Izanagi-no-mikoto. She is also referred to as Izanami no kami.

Depiction

Iconographical evolution of the Wind God.
Left: Greek wind God (Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara), Hadda, 2nd century.
Middle: Wind God from Kizil, Tarim Basin, 7th century.
Right: Japanese Wind God Fujin, 17th century. WindGods.JPG
Iconographical evolution of the Wind God.
Left: Greek wind God (Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara), Hadda, 2nd century.
Middle: Wind God from Kizil, Tarim Basin, 7th century.
Right: Japanese Wind God Fujin, 17th century.
Statue at Taiyu-in in Nikko Taiyuin-Fujin-Dsc3719.jpg
Statue at Taiyū-in in Nikkō

The iconography of Fujin seems to have its origin in the cultural exchanges along the Silk Road. Starting with the Hellenistic period when Greece occupied parts of Central Asia and India, the Greek wind god Boreas became the god Wardo in Greco-Buddhist art, then a wind deity in China (frescoes of the Tarim Basin), and finally the Japanese Wind God Fujin.

The wind god kept its symbol, the windbag, and its dishevelled appearance throughout this evolution.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "The Japanese wind god images do not belong to a separate tradition apart from that of their Western counter-parts but share the same origins. (...) One of the characteristics of these Far Eastern wind god images is the wind bag held by this god with both hands, the origin of which can be traced back to the shawl or mantle worn by Boreas/ Oado." (Katsumi Tanabe, "Alexander the Great, East-West cultural contacts from Greece to Japan", p21)

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Serpent (symbolism) mythological symbol

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Greco-Buddhism

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Nio

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Greco-Buddhist art art

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Silk Road transmission of art

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Indo-Greek art

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Sources of Indo-Greek history

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Celtic mythology collective term for all the fabulous profane and religious narratives of the Celts

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Hellenistic influence on Indian art

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References

Sir John Boardman, is a classical art historian and archaeologist, "Britain's most distinguished historian of ancient Greek art."

Princeton University Press independent publisher with close connections to Princeton University

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International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

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