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Who are Fujin and Raijin in Japanese Mythology and Horimono?

In Japan (雷神) God of Thunder, Raijin, and (風神) God of Wind, Fujin, are the japanese gods of weather. Two Shinto gods ruling over thunder, rain and wind and therefore over harvest and crops.

Therefore in Japan both, Fujin and Raijin, are usually shown together. 

Raijin Horimono.

Also known under the following names:  Thunder God is also, Kaminari-samaRaiden-samaNarukami and Raikō (Lord of Thunder). Raijin is depicted with loin protection made from tiger fur, and his drums to unleash thunder and lightning.

Raijin almost looks like a demon (Jap. Oni) riding on a black cloud or dragon, but he isn’t! 

The number of fingers and toes of these two gods are different to those of Oni. Reasons why can be read in old history books. 

Thunder and lightning then strike the soil and seeds will come to life and grow to crops. 

For this reason Raijin is adored as the god of rain and harvest. So for obvious reasons it’s clear why we want to have them tattooed on us. Horimono often tends to borrow images of the old traditional Japan. By comparison please respect that the word “Irezumi” the japanese word for “Inserting Ink” is a bad term. It is wiser to use “Horimono” meaning “one complete carving”. Unfortunately enough all things considered, the word “Irezumi” easily finds its place alone in the search engine and is thus used frequently. Sadly it will without doubt keep a negative taint, as it is an expression used by the law for those prosecuted in the country of the rising sun.

Truly, in the connection to agriculture there are a bunch more gods that need mentioning in japanese tattooing.

Let’s talk about them at a later stage. 

Fujin Horimono.

Fujin the japanese God of Wind.
Fujin is also known as “Kaze no kami,” or “Fuhaku”.

Images of Fujin derived from water and wind, as he is the god believed to control wind. He has horns, a demons head and wears leopardskin, weaponised with claws on his hands to hold his bag.

When is known for creating extreme typhoons but of course alternatively brings sunshine.

He is known to be one of the older Shinto gods in Japan. Old legends tell, that shortly after the creation, it was Fujin who let out a gust of wind out of his wind sack to rid the morning fog. The sun takes its place between heaven and earth.

Pimp your sightseeing adventures when visiting Japan.

Let’s make good memories when we visit Japan. Instead of going for the usual mainstream points of interest, let’s rather look out for those goodies, that make not only japanese tattooing special, but also peak your trip to a happening. Seriously, it’s not only about cherry blossom season, Japan has way more then that…

So when in Japan it’s possible to see both Fujin and Raijin as life size figures at the Sanjūsangen-do Temple in Kyoto. The two figures are part of the national treasure and you will see them in a row with 1000 Kannon bosatzu figures. 

These two gods of wind and thunder are subordinates of Senkung Kannon. 

The Sanjūsangen-do temple is not too far to walk from the train station in Kyoto. It may be advisable to rent a bicycle as there are multiple cultural sites to be visited in the city. There is a bicycle rental that speaks english behind the train station. 

Of course both Fujin and Raijin can be seen everywhere on roof tops around the country. Asakusa, Tokio is a common place to see these gods on rooftops everywhere.

Building fronts in Asakusa-Tokio, showing a large wooden sign with the Japanese gods of thunder and wind.
Raijin and Fujin used as images for a shop signboard in Asakusa, Tokio

At the famous Sensoji Temple they protect the temple from the beautiful (浅草寺)Kaminarimon gate. Another equal point of interest is the Hōzōmon Gate of great importance which houses the Kongorikishi.

Front view of the beautiful Kaminarimon gate with guesting visitors around summertime.
Front view of the beautiful Kaminarimon gate with guesting visitors around summertime.

Let’s conclude that for those of us who are interested in Horimono (Jap. One Carving) it’s important to travel to Japan frequently to study. 

Tom’s tattooed sleeves…

In particular the pictures beneath bear the complete project that Gordon Claus/Second generation Kisaragi made on Tom. High up in the sky and accompanied by two dragons. Simultaneously, to keep the (positive and negative) balance between the two designs the colours dominating each one, was added to the exchange of dragon tones. Tom’s Dragons were drawn on freehand. Notice the unusual magical facial expressions, purposely spiraled. Started 2018, Finished 2021.

The Gakubori (Jap. Background) and Botan-Giri ( Jap. Wavey Border) is still in the old style and was fixed to suit the other arm. Its imposible continue in the new fashion of the Kisaragi Family as the work would be driven to far appart. So please excuse for now, rather lets look forward to future publications. Work is enjoyed very much and is proudly presented.

The contrast range is not too high however it gives extra ordinary feel and temper. 

The image itself has enough energy to give the wearer even more drive! 

Daily training paint.

Unquestionably the importance of daily drawing is of utmost importance. A day without sketching is a day that will go lost. In the hope that as beautiful as it is to paint, it’s more imortant to sketch even more. Just for the sake, to come up with the one or other idea, while having loose thoughts makes it easier to develop those little spiral images. Can you spot them in this picture?

In either case, I imagine it to be fun. So as long as it’s fun and has a certain serious aspect, it will be fine with me.

Paintings of shinto gods laying on Tatami (Straw mat).
Rough paint of Raijin in the left bottom 2017, with bigger 50*70cm Raijin and Fujin painting from 2020, both in possesion of J.Kern, Koblenz.

Daily Rough painting sketches to generate ideas for customers. So they aren’t ment to be perfect rather fast and full of captured ideas, like tomoe (3 comma) in the drums.

How do you like our idea of fire tomoe? This Tomoe symbole frequently appears on roof tiles in Japan because it’s believed to protect against fire.

Clients ideas at risk!

Just as a friendly reminder and certainly not to offend any readers: As mentioned before, please find your own quest of ideas (Japanese principal) as this is one of many Kisaragi Family ideas. On the one hand, we have an incredible Riga of talented, hard working incredible Horishi, to keep the balance with the increasing loss of honour under the younger tattoo generation and mentality differences in each country, on the negative side. It would be expected that the left click for download is used. After a long ten minutes and nobody looking, let me guess? it became your idea. Nevertheless this stays the reason why we refrain from sharing clients ideas, so they stay our clients ideas.

So please come to discuss in person.

From the archieves.

From the archives of Shodai Horikoi/Kisaragi, we allow ourselves to show you some old works. All made by hand using the method of “Tebori”, sensei carved for over 40 years.

Please note the lightness in colour. You can see Fujin, the God of wind and Rain here twice. The Raijin Versions will be visible in an up coming publication about The life and work of Shodai Horikoi, in the nearer future.

See you in America, Canada or Germany!

The single or paired images of these two Shinto Gods are always welcome to be tattooed in our house. Please feel free to come and join us. We look forward to working with you!

Lars Walkling – Horiyou

Rick Wilson – Horioka

Gordon Claus – Second generation Horikoi /Kisaragi