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Raijin

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Fujinraijin-tawaraya

Fūjin-raijin-zu by Tawaraya Sōtatsu, with Raijin shown on the left and Fūjin right.

Itcho Hanabusa, The Falling Thunder God

Raijin at Nitenmon Gate, Raijin

Raijin is a god of lightning, thunder[1] and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology.

His name is derived from the Japanese words rai (雷, meaning ‘thunder’) and shin (神, ‘god’ or 'kami'). He is typically depicted as a demon beating drums to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums. He is also known by the following names:

  • Yakusa no ikazuchi no kami: Yakusa (八, eight) and ikazuchi (雷, thunder) and kami (神, spirit or deity)
  • Kaminari-sama: kaminari (神, kami, spirit or deity + 雷, nari, thunder) and -sama (様, a Japanese honorific meaning "master")
  • Raiden-sama: rai (雷, thunder), den (電, lightning), and -sama (様, master)
  • Narukami: naru (鳴, thundering/rolling) and kami (神, spirit or deity)

Myths

According to Kojiki, eight kinds Raijin was born from Izanami.

In Japanese culture

Some Japanese parents tell their children to hide their belly buttons (or navels) during thunderstorms. This is due to a folk belief that Raijin is sometimes credited with eating the navels or abdomen of children, and in the event of thunder, parents traditionally tell their children to hide their navels so that they are not taken away. Raijin's companion is the demon Raiju. In Japanese art, the deity is often depicted together with Fūjin, the wind god.

Raijin is a well-known deity and his fame has spawned characters in many forms of Japanese media. He is often mocked, for example in an episode of Kyorochan, or in Katamari Damacy where he is one of the largest and most valuable objects in the game that the Prince can roll into his damashi ball of trash. In the tokusatsu series Madan Senki Ryukendo, all three Madan Warriors, right after transforming, say their names followed by the word "Raijin!", which stands for "wake up!" or "stand up!". He also appears in a minor role in the Japanese role playing game Final Fantasy VIII as one of Seifer Almasy's henchmen. In Chrono Trigger, he and his brother join to form the Masamune.

Popular culture

In Western culture, Raijin is usually known as Raiden (rai (雷, thunder) + den (電, lightning)), and depicted as a tall monk wearing a large straw hat (these hats are used widely throughout Asia to keep off rain], with the power to create storms, thunder, and lightning. The first use of this archetype was an appearance with other Eastern elemental gods in the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China, though Lei Gong, a similar Chinese god, might have influenced the character in the film.

See also

References

  1. Ashkenazi, Michael (2003). Handbook of Japanese Mythology. ABC-CLIO. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-57607-467-1. http://books.google.ca/books?id=gqs-y9R2AekC&pg=PA236&dq=raijin. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 

External links

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Raijin. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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