Billiken© birthday

Often mistaken* for baby Buddha, copyrighted Billiken doll shrine Osaka has a full-blown shrine built for its faux-Kwepie god, a commercial, copyrighted, Kewpie-like Billiken© doll and the locals have been seriously praying to it since 1912.

Since Billiken© was created and copyrighted in 1908, the Tsutenkaku Tower Corporation who owns the Billiken© Shrine put on a birthday party complete with a mega-creapy mascot god as you can see below in the screenshot from NHK public TV: Billiken’s 100th birthday celebrated at landmark tower in Osaka (Mainichi News, March 31, 2008).

Comparative religion—additional notes

Holy Action Figures
–via the WFMU blog

Kachina Spirits top
Holy Action Figures vs the Toys
Holy Action Figures bottom

The idea for juxtaposition of Hopi Kachina Dolls in Phoenix, Arizona and Japanese Action Toys in a museum in Tokyo came from Benjamen Walker in the WFMU blog. However, I doubt if the original author, Mr. Walker, knows how close these “Holy Action Figures” are to the “truth” in Japan.
Godzilla statue in Ginza
For example, at the Godzilla statue in Ginza there are always Shinto-eque offerings of sake, called “omiki.” left for the Godzilla spirit…Yeah! A drunk Godzilla Spirit–that’s what Tokyo needs!

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

14 thoughts on “Billiken© birthday”

  1. UPDATE!
    As you can see below, Billiken is featured in the middle of the collection of tower mascots.

    Tower Mascots … in Tokyo Tower there are the Noppon [pink penis] Brothers. Almost all the observation Towers in Japan have their own mascot. If they don’t have an Idle Idol they’ll almost certainly have a kigirumi (fur suit)MORE FUN
    Tower Mascots in Japan

  2. @Pubgoblin wrote:
    Weird monkey Buddha thing

    Oh that’s “Billiken” aka “The God of Things As They Ought to Be.” He was originally American before he was kidnapped & forced to be the Osaka Tower mascot god.


    The Billiken is a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz of Kansas City, Missouri, who is said to have seen the mysterious figure in a dream.[1] It is believed that Pretz found the name Billiken in Bliss Carman’s 1896 poem Mr. Moon: A Song Of The Little People. In 1908, she obtained a design patent on the ornamental design of the Billiken,[2] which she sold to the Billiken Company of Chicago. The Billiken was elephant-like with pointed ears, a mischievous smile and a tuft of hair on his pointed head. His arms were short and he was generally sitting with his legs stretched out in front of him. Billiken is known as “The God of Things As They Ought to Be.”
    To buy a Billiken was said to give the purchaser luck, but to have one given would be better luck.[3] The image was copyrighted and a trademark was put on the name. After a few years of popularity, like other fad toys, the Billiken faded into obscurity. The Billiken should not be confused with baby-like Kewpie figures that debuted in the December 1909 Ladies’ Home Journal.
    Today, the Billiken is the official mascot of Saint Louis University and St. Louis University High School, both Jesuit institutions located in St. Louis. The Billiken is also the official mascot of the Royal Order of Jesters,[4] an invitation only Shriner group, affiliated with Freemasonry. The Billiken also became the namesake of Billiken Shokai, the Japanese toy & model manufacturing company (established 1976)...more...


  3. @Pubgoblin wrote:
    That’s an intriguing tale!

    Plenty of Intrigue!
    While being held hostage as the mascot of Osaka Tower, Billiken is actually an Illuminati god of Royal Order of Jesters, a Shriner group part of Freemasons!

  4. Taro wrote:
    Billiken is actually an Illuminati god of Royal Order of Jesters, a Shriner group part of Freemasons!

    Shriners?! Weirdest Mascot ever. Apparently it’s enshrined at 2 shrines in Kobe. And it “came to the artist in a dream”.

  5. Here’s a conflicting creation story….

    the name “Billiken” seems to have been borrowed straight from the poem Mr. Moon: A Song of the Little People, published in 1896…{from}… a roll call of fairy figures who are calling at the moon to come to Earth and play.
    —via Atlas Obscura:
    The Billiken is Much More Than the Strangest College Mascot

    Billiken figures from 1909. (Photo: Joe Mabel/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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