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Known as the Fat Buddha or Laughing Buddha, Hotei is one of Japan’s Seven Gods of Luck. He is the magnanimous god of contentment and happiness, guardian of children, and in recent times, the patron of bartenders and restaurateurs. He carries a large bag of food and drink which never empties, which he uses to feed the poor and needy. The Japanese spelling of “Hotei” literally means “cloth bag.”
Hotei is usually depicted holding a Chinese “wish giving” fan called an oogi 扇 and either seated or sleeping on his bag, but also dancing, walking or pointing at the moon. Sometimes, he is shown surrounded by a group of children, romping and squealing in delight around his jolly shape.