Raijin (雷神) is the Japanese god of thunder, lightning, & storms. Often appearing alongside his brother Fujin, the god of the wind, Raijin the trickster brings vital rains but leaves a wake of chaos and destruction.

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Is Raijin a good or an evil kami?While Raijin is depicted with a very fearsome appearance, he is considered a trickster who can bring both good in the form of rain, & destructive storms as well.

Who are Raijin’s parents?

Raijin is the son of creator gods Izanami & Izanagi, but he was born after his mother died, & as such is a being of death himself.

Raijin (雷神) is the Japanese god of storms, a chaotic being born of death who brings the world vital rains as well as chaos & destruction. He flies across the sky on dark clouds and throws lightning onto unsuspecting denizens below.

A popular kami (a type of god or spirit in the Shinto religion) despite his connection khổng lồ death và destruction, Raijin is represented in Shinto và Buddhist imagery, as well as in folk belief and popular art.

Etymology

Raijin is represented in Kanji as 雷神, a combination of 雷 (kaminari), meaning “thunder,” and 神 (kami), meaning “god” or “spirit.” Thus, he is simply the Thunder God. Other names are Kaminari-sama (雷様, “Lord Thunder”), Raiden-sama (雷電様, “Lord Thunder and Lightning”), Narukami (鳴る神, “The Resounding God”) và Yakusa no ikazuchi no kami (厄災の雷の神, “God of Storms and Disaster”).

Attributes

Raijin is the master of thunder & lightning, controlling the power of storms. He rains down death và destruction on the world below. His connection to Yomi, the Land of the Dead, is part of his being, made clear through his horrific appearance. With a terrifying, toothy smile, severe eyebrows, & lean, muscular appearance, he dresses in simple pants and has wily, unconquered hair.

His expression is almost always angry or gleefully destructive, lượt thích a hungry demon. Despite this, he is often depicted with a traditional Buddhist halo, a common motif around figures that are holy or divine. This halo surrounds all of Raijin, rather than just his head, & is marked by plates covered in various Buddhist, Daoist, & Shinto religious imagery.

He also appears with a drum, with which he creates thunder. He is always in the company of Fujin, the god of winds; his son, Raitaro; and occasionally the thunder beast, Raiju.

Raijin is the bringer of rain, a boon lớn farmers. When drought came lớn Japan, it was said that Raijin was either slacking off or imprisoned, as depicted in one kabuki play.

He is also the protector of temples và shrines. In Shinto và Buddhism, Raijin is a warrior-protector who brings both destruction và life, illustrating how the two are deeply connected. It is said that Raijin’s lightning, when it struck a crop, would produce a bountiful yield.

Raijin is more a trickster than a malevolent figure. Stories depict him as being unwilling to lớn listen khổng lồ priests, monks, or even the Emperor of Japan, yet he is very much answerable khổng lồ other deities và to the revered Buddhist figures known as bodhisattva, who are on the path to enlightenment và Buddhahood.

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While there is much art featuring Raijin, his most famous depiction is at Sanjusangen-do, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, where statues of Raijin và Fujin guard the entrance. These statues are considered some of the most beloved works in Japanese art.

In stories told even today, Raijin is said to kidnap & gobble up children who vị not hide their belly buttons. This story may stem from Raijin’s origins in Yomi, where his birth was unnatural. The denizens of Yomi hold great envy và hatred toward natural-born humans, whose belly buttons may serve as a reminder of Raijin’s birth in the land of the dead.

Family

Raijin is the son of Izanami and Izanagi, the progenitors of the Japanese gods. Born after his mother Izanami died, Raijin himself is a being of death. He is brother to many gods, including Amaterasu, Susanoo, and Tsukuyomi. His son, Raitaro, is also a thunder god.

Family Tree

Parentsfathermother
Izanami
Siblingsbrotherssister
Childrenson
Raitaro

Mythology

Raijin appears in many parts of Japanese folklore.

Appearance in Myth và Legend

Raijin was born of Izanami’s rotting corpse after she descended to Yomi, the Land of Darkness & Death. When her husband izanagi fled from her back lớn the world of the living, Izanami ordered Raijin to lớn pursue him, và thus Raijin came into the world bringing death and destruction with him.

Another story describes Raijin as a mischief-maker and being of destruction, causing the emperor lớn order Sugaru the God-Catcher khổng lồ imprison Raijin. Sugaru first petitioned Raijin in the name of the emperor lớn give himself over willingly, lớn which Raijin responded with laughter. Sugaru then invoked Kannon, the Buddha of Compassion, which compelled Raijin to let Sugaru take him to the emperor. Under the control of Sugaru & the emperor, Raijin was forced lớn halt his destructive ways và bring only rain & bounty lớn Japan—at least for a time.

In some popular medieval stories about the failed Mongol invasions of japan in 1274 & 1281, Raijin & Fujin were responsible for the typhoons that sank the Mongol ships and prevented invasion.

Other Mythology

Raijin và Fujin are always depicted together, thus making the two deities deeply connected.

Raijin is potentially related to Leigong, a Chinese god of thunder, and his various forms; as well as to Parjanya, a Hindu god of rain, thunder, và lightning. Raijin also fulfills a similar role và temperament to El (also called YHWH), a Semitic storm deity worshiped by the Hebrews. Finally, Raijin exhibits similarities khổng lồ the Norse Thor, Greek Zeus, & Celtic Taranis.

Pop Culture

Raijin often makes cameo appearances throughout popular culture, including:

In the anime movie Pom Poko, Raijin and Fujin illusions are created to scare off the occupants of the Tama Hills developments, who are more entertained than scared.

Raiden, god of thunder in the Mortal Kombat video game, has powers based on those of Raijin.

In the UltraMan media series, the characters of Raijin và Fujin are based on their divine counterparts.