Fujin (The Japanese God of The Wind) (風神)

Fujin (also known as "Kaze no kami," or "Fuhaku") is the Japanese god believed to control the wind. Occasionally, the spirit, or the ghost, of the wind is called "fujin." Fujin and "Raijin" (the Japanese god of thunder) is a pair.

As a ghost

Fujin as a ghost originated from the medieval superstition that the flow of the air not only damaged agricultural products and fishing, but also got into the human body and caused disease. That is why the phrase of 'catch a cold' is written in Chinese characters as '風邪' (literary, "風" means the wind and "邪" means the cause of harm). When a cold spread in the Edo period, people in turn passed a straw doll (in the shape of the wind god) through the town, saying, 'Pass it, pass it,' and in the end, the doll was abandoned outdoors or floated away on the river, they say.

Painting figure

In a painting, fujin is portrayed as an ogre-like figure, carrying a large bag that is used like a pair of bellows (a tool for sending the wind). The typical painting is the Images of the Wind and Thunder Gods (a screen) portrayed by Sotatsu TAWARAYA.


"Picture Book of a Hundred Stories" (a book about strange stories written in the Edo period) says the wind god is a noxious vapor. It floats here and there riding the wind, and gets into the opening of something, or into the gap between the warm and cold air. The wind god blows yellow-colored breath on human when he met, and if exposed to the breath, the human becomes ill. And the book also says that the breath's yellow-colored element is the humid soil. This soil is the yellow sand flown from the loess zone in China, and the yellow sand is said to have been the sign of rainy weather and an outbreak of plague from the wind. All over western Japan, meeting a sudden illness or fever outdoors is described as 'suffering from the wind,' and there exists the folklore that the wind is not a natural phenomenon but a spiritual one.

"Book of Folded Pages" (a book on the study of waka poems written in the Heian period) and "A Miscellany of Ten Maxims" (a collection of anecdotes written in the Kamakura period) both say people held rituals for soothing fujin that was believed to be the troublesome god for bringing disasters and illnesses. Tatsuta-taisha Shrine in Nara Prefecture holds the fujin festival every July 4.

[Original Japanese]