He symbolizes safe sailing, plentiful fishing, and business prosperity for merchants in all trades; and success to people in any occupation.

Ebisu is shown wearing formal court garments or the hunting robes of a courtier, and a large red sea bream or a red snapper tucked under his left arm that symbolizes fortune.

Ebisu guards the health of little children.

In stories relating to his origin, Ebisu was born without bones (or, in some stories, without arms and legs) due to his mother’s transgression during the marriage ritual.  She spoke first to her husband during courtship. … as he could not stand, he was cast to the sea in a boat of reeds before his third birthday ….

The weak child overcame many hardships, grew legs at the age of three, and became the god Ebisu.

Ebisu remains slightly crippled and deaf, but mirthful and auspicious nonetheless.  His seemingly selective deafness originated the widespread custom of clapping hands before one prays to gain the attention of the gods.



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