Oct 24, 2005

Kotowaza of the day: Love doesn't pay the bills


Izumo-no kami yori Ebisu-no kami

Meaning of Japanese:
The paper money of Ebisu is preferable to the matchmaking deity at Izumo

English equivalent:
Money makes marriage
Money makes the world go round

*A small play on words is involved here. The kotowaza asserts that the kami of Ebisu is better than the kami of Izumo, but while Ebisu's kami means paper (or paper money), Izumo's is the character for god.

The Izumo Taisha shrine of Shimane in western Japan is known for its patron deity of wedlock. Singles and couples alike visit there in hopes that a happy marriage will somehow result. Ebisu is one of the major Shichifukujin, or seven lucky gods of Shinto Japan. He is the patron deity of business, savings and money. A shrine in Kyoto, among others, bears his name, as does a neighborhood in Tokyo and a brew now owned and marketed by Sapporo Beer.


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