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by Micha F. Lindemans

One of the Shichi Fukujin, the seven Japanese Shinto-gods of luck. Hotei ("cloth bag") is the god of happiness and laughter and the wisdom of being content. He is the patron of the weak and the children. Hotei is depicted as a very fat man with a big belly (a symbol of happiness, luck and generosity), carrying a huge linen bag containing precious things, including children, on his back. He may sit in an old cart drawn by boys, as the Wagon Priest. He can be compared with the Buddhistic Mi-lo-Fo.

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