SUIJIN God of Water


God of Water, Mizu no Kamisama 水の神様
Suijin-sama 水神様


町の冬 水神様の 石碑かな

winter in town –
the stone memorial of the
God of Water


The Bridge beside this Stone

The clear water is used to produce a great sake,
Gozenshuu 御膳酒

Katsuyama, a postal station of the Road to Izumo


This memorial for the God of Water one is in the neighbourhood of Sendai, near a temple of Yakushi Nyorai at Hoozawa. This stone memorial is two meters wide and about eight meters high, all of one huge stone.



. . . CLICK here for more SUIJIN SAMA Photos !

Tsukaigawa 【つかい川】  Sendai, Nanakitagawa
朴沢の「つかい川」の写真です。「つかい川」は農業用水や食事の後片付け、洗濯など、色々と活用されおり、生活には欠かせないもので、「使いがっての良い川」が変じて「つけがわ」とも「つかい川」とも言われるようになりました。  「つかい川」では「ばったり・ばっかり」と言われる米をつく道具や「水車」なども使われていました。


風水天地の神様 Gods of the four elements

Since in 2004 there were so many typhoons hitting Japan, I am now checking out about the Gods of the Elements, while Typhoon Nr. 22 is hanging around on October 8.

Especially the Gods of Water and Rain and the Wind need to be appeased these days.

I am very greatful for Mark Schumacher and his kind support and fruitful discussion of this subject.

On a page about the Mandala of the Diamond World, Kongookai Mandala 金剛界曼荼羅, one of the great Mandalas of Shingon Buddhism, I found a mention to the
four Diamond Protectors 四執金剛.

They are also called the Four Great Gods,
Shi no Ookami 四大神.

水神 Suijin
水天 Suiten God of Water

風神 Fuujin - Fujin (and Raijin 雷神 God of Thunder)
風天 Fuuten God of Wind

地神 Chijin
地天 Chiten God of Earth

火神 Kajin
火天 Katen God of Fire

Each of the gods also has his female counterpart, a sort of heavenly princess KI, 妃.

In other context, they may look different、as we will see below.

These gods may have evolved from animistic believes in India and Japan, whereby the reading of JIN may refer to a Japanese Deity and the reading of TEN to an Indian origin. In the pure Japanese Shintoo context, these names can also be read as for example Mizu no kamisama, Hi no Kamisama, see below.


refers to the four elements of
Earth, Water, Fire and Wind (Air).

The four elements of antiquity -- earth, water, air, and fire -- dominated natural philosophy for two thousand years. The premise that everything was formed from these four elements was developed by the Greek philosopher Empepedocles of Sicily, and continued to be believed until the rise of modern science.

Even today, earth, water, air, and fire are not bad symbols for the four states of matter -- solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.

Science has discovered new ideas, but in the field of Mysticism these elements are still important today, to illustrate the oneness of all. The ancient symbol is found after each element below. Some mystics insist that these four elements be placed on the temple and home sanctum alter. Some even go so far as to have earth, water and air from Egypt, to commemorate the origin of the Mystery Schools that later migrated to many parts of the world.
source : salemos.tripod.com/

According to Mark, FOUR also occurs very frequently, both in ancient and traditional art in China and Japan, to represent the four directions (north, south, east, west), and also the fifth direction, the center (which in China refers to China itself).

As for the Shingon and other Mandalas, I refer you to Marks page.

These four gods are also part of the 12 Deva Guardians, Juuni-Ten, with their origin mostly in Indian beliefs.

Great gallery of the 12 in the Kyoto National Museum.

The above mentioned four elements together with the void make up the Five Elements, usually represented in Stone Markers, Gorin-Too.
Gorintoo 五輪塔(ごりんとう)

The earth, water, fire, wind and the sky, which Buddhists believe create everything of the universe. The bottom stone is a cube and called the Earth ring expressing the earth. From the second, a sphere (Water ring), triangular shape like pyramid (Fire ring), semi-sphere (Wind ring) and placed on top is peach-shaped hoju (mani in Sanskrit) and is called Sky ring.


The Water God, Sui-jin Suijin 水神,
Sui-ten Suiten水天

West; Water Deva; Skt : Varuna
Among the oldest Vedic gods; the personification of the heavens, and preserver of the universe; later becomes the lord of the Sun Gods, and still later the god of oceans and rivers.

Sui-ten (Varuna) is a fair figure clothed in softly-colored and finely-decorated garments. He emerges gracefully from the dark-brown background like a water spirit, as his name, literally "water deva," suggests. His knees are highlighted with white gradations and decorated with delicate, finely detailed patterns. Such decorative techniques are characteristic of the late-Heian Period when production of Buddhist paintings was at its height.

Dikpalas or directional guardians, are stationed around the four corners of many temples. The northwest corner, with guardians Varuna and Vayu is shown here.

Varuna is also associated with or identical with the Dragon Deity (ryuujin, ryuuson), riding on a turtle or a dragon and living in the Palace in the Ocean (ryuugu). He holds a rope in his hand. In that version he has many snakes around his head. He is then also a protector of pregnancy and easy childbirth. Other sources present his vehicle, the animal he is riding on as a kind of crocodile-like sea monster, the Makara.

Don’t miss this great page of Mark about the Dragons !

For the Makara, look here:

. . . CLICK here for MAKARA Photos !


As The God of Water, Mizu no Kamisama, Mizugami, Suijinsama, he is widely revered in Japan. Even in my own backyard, there is a small grotto with a stone saying 水神, who is supposed to bring enough rain for the rice fields in due time and on the other hand protect us from too much of it causing landslides and more damage.

One link claims, 水神様とは下水菌のこと, Suijinsama is another name for the bacteria in the waste-water. The more you find in the water for cleaning the soil, the better is our environment.
It the bacteria are reduced due to environment pollution,the earth turns to salpeter, as for example near the thatched homes of Gokan Village in Toyama 五箇山.
source : bigai world

Here another episode from my own experience comes to mind.

When we remodeled our old farmhouse, we had to do something about grandfather’s toilet. It was just a small pond in the ground, with two beams over it where you had to balance real hard while performing your job. Below you was the open sewer.

The local carpenter decided to drain the sewage water, fill the hole up with earth and level it with the rest of the ground. But before doing anything to this smelling place, we were informed, we had to pacify the Suijinsama living in this pond.

With plenty of ricewine (for the god and the humans) and purifying salt and a lot of mumbling prayers, the God was informed that his palace was to go and he would be relocated in a wet rice field further down. After the water was drained, a pipe was stuck in the hole before it was filled up, so that the Suijinsama who might have been left in the place would find their way out. This pipe is still sticking out to this day.

. Toilet, Outhouse (benjo, no setchin, toire) .
Outhouse in the open, no setchin 野雪隠
"place to wash your hands" o te arai お手洗い
"place of convenience" benjo 便所
kawaya 厠
habakari 憚り
Japanese God of the Toilet - kawaya no kami 厠の神
benjogami 便所神 - 厠神 Benjogami
- - - and haiku about these topics - - -

The Shrines of Water Gods in Old Edo

Kanda Myōjin (Myoojin)
A shrine founded in the 10th century, dedicated in part to the God of the Sea (Suijinsama). Kanda Myōjin became the tutelary shrine for much Edo, the emblematic shrine for the Citizens of Edo, the Edokko.
 Kanda Myoojin Shrine 神田明神

. Shrine Onoterusaki jinja 小野照崎神社 .

. Suitenguu 水天宮 Shrine of the Water God .

There are thre Female Water Deities in Shintoo.
One is the Funadama, Soul of the Ship.

Funadama 船霊(ふなだま)
guardian deity of a boat
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
is the Goddess of the ocean, widely worshipped by Japanese fishermen. Her shrines are niches made in the masts of ships where many items are kept. She grants good catches! Suijin, a water Goddess, often has shrines at lakes, ponds, springs and wells. She is sometimes said to take the form of fish or large, sometimes white, snakes. Women play a key role in her worship and a few large shrines (Suitengu in Tokyo, for example) are primarily focused on helping pregnant women deliver safely.

In the original Japanese Shinto Religion, there are many versions of a God of Water, which shows how important water is to a rice planting agricultural society.

Here are just a few, this will be subject to further checking.

市杵嶋姫神 いちきしまひめのかみ。水の神様。弁天様と習合。Ichiki Shima Hime no Kami
闇淤加美神 くらおかみのかみ。水の神・龍神様。Kurao Kami no Kami
高淤加美神 たかおかみのかみ。水の神・龍神様。Takao Kami no Kami
宗像の神 むなかたのかみ。海上交通の神様。水の神様。Munakata no Kami
罔象女神 みづはのめのかみ。水を司る神。雨乞いの神。Mizuha no Me no Kami

source : (Records of Ancient Matters)

There is a festival in her honor on August 15 at the shrine Hodosan jinja 宝登山神社 (Hodoosan jinja) in Saitama. This boat festival (Funadama matsuri 船玉まつり) at Nagatoro 長瀞 dates back to the Tokugawa period. Travelers from Chichibu used to raft down to Edo and prayed at the shrine for safe passage along the Arakawa river.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. 水速女命 Mizuhanome - Deity of water .

. Funadama matsuri 船玉祭
Festival of the Ship's Treasures

Nagasaki, Maso Festival 媽祖祭

. Funatama Jinja 船魂神社


funadama sama 船霊さま amulets for Funadama
funadama 船霊は「船玉、船魂」

The one's from Chiba are top left.
Top right are from Shizuoka, bottom left from Wakayama (mamoribina 守り雛), bottom right from Okyama.

They are a pair of hina dolls made from paper.
They are an amulet to protect the boatsmen.

. Folk Toys from Chiba .

funadama no shiroki namidatchi juunigatsu

the white waves
of the Funadama godess -
this december

Kawamura Sachiko 川村祥子


CLICK For more photos
Benten on a dragon

. Benten, Benzaiten 弁天 / 弁財天  


Munakata no Kami

. 宗像の神 - The Munakata Shinto Belief .
Shrine Munakata Taisha (宗像大社), Fukuoka
and related kigo


New Year KIGO related to the Water Deities

Hatsu Suitenguu 初水天宮 (はつすいてんぐう)
first visit to the Suitengu Shrine

hatsu mi 初巳 (はつみ) "first snake"
first day of the snake

. . . CLICK here for Photos !
hatsu Benzaiten 初弁財天(はつべんざいてん)
first visit to a Benten shrine
..... hatsu Benten 初弁天(はつべんてん)

fuse mairi 布施参(ふせまいり)
visit a Benten shrine(mairi) and make an offering (fuse)

hatsu tatsu 初辰 (はつたつ) "first dragon"
first day of the dragon

..... jooshinnichi 上辰日(じょうしんにち)
Tatsu matsuri 辰祭(たつまつり)Dragon Festival
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

hatsu tatsu no mizu 初辰の水(はつたつのみず)
first water for the dragon
. . . shio no mizu 潮の水(しおのみず)"tide water"
to be thrown on the roof.

On this day people of old would throw water on the roof and pray for protection from fires during the coming year.

The Dragon, fifth of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.

. WKD : New Year Ceremonies


kigo for early summer

Yanagawa suitengu matsuri
柳川水天宮祭 (やながわすいてんぐうまつり)
festival at Shrine Suitengu in Yanagawa, Fukuoka
..... funabutai 船舞台(ふなぶたい)stage on a boat

CLICK for more photos

Okinohata Suitengu Festival 沖の端水天宮祭り
(May 13 - 15) 沖端水天宮祭り
It used to be from the 5th day of the old fourth lunar month.
For three days and nights, three "divine boats" with girls playing shamisen moor along the canal beside the shrine. On a stage (sanjinmaru) on the boat Kabuki and kyogen performances are held to please the three deities of the shrine. While they perform, the boats float very gently along the canal.
Women pray for the health of their children and to protect them from drowning.

The town of Yanagawa was quite important in olden times as a stopover from Nagasaki and Amakusa (Kumamoto prefecture).
Now some music groups from the Netherlands also perform.


kigo for mid-winter

. osame no Suitengu 納の水天宮 (おさめのすいてんぐう)
last visit to the Suitengu shrine .

. Munakata sai 宗像祭 (むなかたさい) Munakata festival .
koshiki sai 古式祭(こしきさい)festival in the old style
at the shrine Munakata Taisha in Fukuoka


Dragon Art Gallery
Gabi Greve


The Wind God, Fuujin, Fuu-jin 風神 Fujin、
Fuu-ten 風天

. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Northwest; Wind Deva Skt : Vayu, Anila, Gandhavaha
Typically appears as a elderly person, with white hair, red body armor, and holding a scepter of the wind in the right hand. The term "Futen-goshin-gassho" refers to a hand sign in esoteric Buddhist practices, acheived by creating a "ring" with the index finger and the thumb.

The characters for fuu-ten mean "wind deva," and, accordingly, Fu-ten holds a scepter of the wind in his right hand. He is depicted as an old man. The elongated petals on the hosoge flower and arabesque patterns emanate a sense of dignified substance. Heavy layers of color on the face, large-scale patterns, sophisticated brushwork and a double-layered halo all contribute to the uniqueness of this elaborate Fu-ten.

The Wind God and the Thunder God are another pair to threaten humanity.

CLICK for more photos
Here they are on a famous folding screen.

Both the Wind God and the Thunder God are originally subordinates to the Senju Kannon (Kannon-with-One-Thousand-Arms), and worshipped together with other twenty-eight Attendants. This is a copy of Sootatsu's crowning work by Koorin. While Sootatsu's original picture is characterized by a broad gold space and a composition with a strong feeling of tension, where the Wind God and the Thunder God face each other from both ends, Koorin showed a difference in creative sense by stabilizing the composition by placing the two gods at the center and trying to depict the figures of the two gods clearly with bright primary colors.

For the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.
and the 400th anniversary of the Rinpa School of Japanese Painting, artist Tara Yamamoto created an astonishing piece of art that threw a traditional twist on the two well known nintendo characters, Mario and Luigi.
In this painting, Mario and Luigi are depicted as the Japanese Deities Raijin and Fujin.
- source : facebook Japanese Art -

Also see Mark Schumachers page for some stunning pieces of Art about the Wind and Thunder God

Marugame tsurigane tako 丸亀釣り鐘凧 kite like a temple bell
from Shikoku
. with Raijin 雷神 pattern .

. Thunder and lightning .
God of Thunder, raijin 雷神

. Kamikaze 神風 the divine wind, .

. Typhoon legends - taifū 台風 伝説 Taifun Legenden .

source : blog.goo.ne.jp/gifu-ishikin
"Thunder Makes Itself Heard."


The Earth God, Chi-jin 地神、Chi-ten 地天

Earth Deva; Skt : Prthivi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Guards the downward direction; god of the earth.
Jiten's counterpart is Bonten (Brahman), who guards the upward direction.

Ji-ten, whose name means "earth deva," guards the downward direction and is the god of the earth. He is also called Kenrochijin. The vivid colors and exquisite decorative elements give this scroll an almost luminous beauty that is representative of late-Heian aristocratic tastes.

On the more down-to-earth animistic beliefs of rural Japan, I think he comes as Yama no Kami and Ta no Kami, the God of the Mountains and the Fields, who changes his residence twice a year, retreating in autumn to the mountains and coming back in spring to the fields. This is a fascinating tale of its own.

In Shinto, when a mountain is considered an object of worship, a yamamiya may be established at the summit or on the side of the mountain, as at Sengen Jinja on Mt Fuji. In some cases, the yamamiya may be regarded as an "interior shrine" (okumiya) in contrast to a shrine located in a village (see satomiya) or lower on the mountain. Some scholars see the yamamiya associated originally with ancestor worship, and thus also with the dual complex of mountain god (yama no kami) and rice field god (ta no kami).


The Fire God, Ka-jin 火神、Ka-ten 火天

Southeast; Fire Deva; Skt : Agni
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
God of fire, invoked in Shingon fire rituals (Agni homa ritual); carries messages to the gods in the flames and smoke of fire; often depicted as old man with stern facial expression.

. Kamagami 釜神 The Hearth Deity .
kamaotoko, kama otoko 釜男(カマオトコ) or
hi otoko 火男 "man of the fire"
Aragamisama, Koojinsama, Koojin sama 荒神様


. Kappa, the water goblin 河童 - Kappapedia .

- #fujin #raijin -


Anonymous said...

Gabi sanの自然や日本の祖先に対する


中村 作雄

Anonymous said...

one of the Russian formalists designated "the stoniness of the stone" as what art aspires to.

By George, I think you've got it.

Best, Bill

Gabi Greve said...

kabata at the town of Harie


living water 生水(しょうず)shoozu
kabata “かばた”(川端)

- - - - -

The Village of Living Water – Harie
Many buildings in this Harie district have a kabata,
which residents use to draw water for everyday tasks. We went to see for ourselves the unique, intimate relationship between the lives of the area’s residents and their water.

This is the sign above the volunteer station in Harie. It says "The Village of Living Water." They provide tours of Harie's unique kabata culture. A kabata uses spring water, carp and streams to bring fresh water into homes. The entire system is self sustaining and is the perfect synergy of man and nature.
... Basically, water coming down from the mountains meets with the water table from the lake, and that water is drawn by the people in Harie. The guides give a wonderful explanation.
The Village of Living Water – Harie

This is one of the many canals that flow through Harie. The guide explained that these are very clean and . . . . .


Gabi Greve said...

Kappa Daimyoojin 河童大明神 Kappa Daimyojin, Great Kappa Deity
Kappa Myoojin カッパ明神 Kappa Myojin
Aragoroo Daimyoojin 荒五郎大明神 Aragoro Daimyojin

MORE in the Kappapedia

Gabi Greve said...

Funadama and Umibozu 海坊主
legend from Nagasaki

Gabi Greve said...

sentaku 洗濯 washing, doing the laundry in Edo