Duncan Royale

Duncan Royale Santa III



Duncan Royale Hoteiosho

Item Sku: 12Hoteio
The celebration of Christmas in Japan dates back only about a century. This is not surprising, since the Christian population is less than one percent; yet in the past thirty-five years, the Christmas festivities have grown to enormous proportions.

The observance is mainly commercial and closely tied to the American urban Christmas. Carols are sung in Japanese, Christmas trees are decorated with lights, turkeys are fattened, and mistletoe and holly are hung.

The only difference is in the gift bringer. Instead of adopting the American Santa Claus, the Japanese looked into their own tradition to find someone with similar characteristics. This was Hotei or Hoteiosho, an old Japanese god. He was originally one of the seven gods of good fortune. An amiable, serene and contented deity, he is often represented as a Buddhist priest with large ear-lobes. His distinguishing feature is a huge stomach believed to be a symbol of his large soul.

He is always depicted as joyously laughing, whether alone or surrounded by children. He holds a fan in one hand and carries on his back the linen bag (hotel) from which he derives his name. He carries the ‘Precious Things’ in the bag, the gifts and toys which he gives to good children. He doesn ‘t need a helper to check on the children’s behavior because they’re told that he has eyes in the back of his head. He has been popularized in Europe under the name of Pusa. It’s no wonder that the children of Japan recognize in him the same characteristics as Santa Claus.

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