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Ebisu, also transliterated Yebisu or called Hiruko or Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami, is the Japanese god of fishermen, luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children. He is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune (Shichifukujin), and the only one of the seven to originate from Japan.
In medieval times, Ebisu's origin came to be tied together with that of Hiruko - the first child of Izanagi and Izanami, born without bones (or, in some stories, without arms and legs) due to his mother's transgression during the marriage ritual. Hiruko struggled to survive but, as he could not stand, he was cast to the sea in a boat of reeds before his third birthday. The story tells that Hiruko eventually washed ashore and was cared for by the Ainu Ebisu Saburo. It is however believed that Ebisu first arose as a god among fishermen, and that his origin as Hiruko was a much later conception, after the worship of him had spread to merchants and others. It is also theorized that he was originally a god known as "Kotoronushi no Mikoto", son of Ōkuninushi.
The weak child overcame many hardships, grew legs (and, presumably, the rest of his skeletal structure) at the age of three, and became the god Ebisu. He remains slightly crippled and deaf, but mirthful and auspicious nonetheless (hence the title, "The Laughing God"). He is often depicted wearing a tall hat holding a rod and a large red sea bream or sea bass. Jellyfish are also associated with the god and the fugu restaurants of Japan will often incorporate Ebisu in their motif.