tracking the wild Billiken

11Sep11

The recent increase in popularity of Osaka’s Shinsekai area among Japanese tourists has brought with it a proliferation of the Billiken, the “God of Things as They Ought to Be.”  The original Billiken (pictured directly below) sits at the top of Tsutenkaku Tower, and there have always been one or two “false idols” in the neighborhood, generally used to advertise this or that kushikatsu restaurant.  Now, however, the area is crawling with Billiken, a situation that you will either find creepy or cute, depending on your particular proclivities.  The following is an extensive, but not nearly complete, survey of the Billiken of Shinsekai.



2 Responses to “tracking the wild Billiken”

  1. why does it say “things as they” in English? Is this some cargo cultism?

    • 2 Trane DeVore

      The whole phrase is “The God of Things as They Ought to Be” — the other parts of the phrase are on the wraparound sides that you can’t see in the photo. As for the story of Billiken, check out the link to an earlier post about Billiken I wrote, full of glorious explanation. Definitely not thought of as a real god, but treated in fun as one — more like a community icon that has no actual religious content.


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