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In Noragami, somethings are still not clear to me. Bishamon was first introduced as a god of war. In fact, Yato said that she was the mightiest god of war. But in the second season, she is said to be one of the seven gods of fortune.

The question is what exactly is Bishamon a god of. Is it common for gods to be for two entirely different things?

Same goes for Yato. He was said to be a god of war and also a god of calamity. And why is there a need of two gods of war if Yato is a god of war?

  • In real-world mythology, gods with a whole bunch of seemingly-unrelated things in their portfolios are very common. There is usually a mythological or symbolic connection: think of Hades, Greek god of the dead ... who are in the underworld ... which is under the earth ... which is where we mine metal and gemstones from ... so he's also the god of wealth! And so are pantheons with more than one god of war; this often indicates that two different cultures' religions have gotten syncretized. – zwol Apr 10 '16 at 14:20
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In short:

  • Bishamon is both, the God of War and the God of Fortune.

  • Yato is not only given the title of the God of War and the God of Calamity, but is also a self-proclaimed Delivery God. Besides these:

    • In Chapter 40, Fujisaki Kouto revealed that Yato is a "God of Depravity," meaning that Yato only knows how to steal and not to give, and that those people around him will suffer terribly.
    • He has also decided to become a God of Fortune now.Source


In detail:

Firstly, a God of Fortune is the title given to a God who brings good luck or uses his/her special abilities/powers to guard or enhance one's everyday life, and is, for the most part, not directly related to their powers (so as to say, they do not cast a spell which causes good fortune to come to someone).

Neither is one "born" a God of Fortune, or if one is, he/she may be stripped of the title should they bring dishonor to their kind (Similarly, other Gods can also be given the title of the God of Fortune.

As mentioned on the Wikia:

The Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神 Shichi Fukujin), commonly referred to in English as the Seven Lucky Gods, are the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese mythology and folklore.

They are some of the most widely worshipped, prayed to and wished upon Japanese gods in modern times, with figurines or masks of them being especially commonplace in small businesses.

Like for Kofuku, it's almost impossible (if not completely impossible) for her to become a "God of Fortune", given that she is the Goddess of Poverty.

As the Goddess of Poverty, Kofuku has always been hated and scorned. She was never allowed to own her own Shinki, possibly since it would augment her powers of disaster and create further destruction and chaos.Source


Secondly, a God doesn't have any "occupation". They are given the title based on their powers and how they use it. For example, Yato is technically only a God of War. The other titles were given to him based on how he used them. In the past, he used to be merciless and cruel, using his powers to kill other Gods in the battle, giving him the title of "God of Calamity".

Similarly, there is no reason why a God cannot be given two or more titles. This trait can be seen in real-life Gods and Goddesses as well. For instance:

Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरस्वती, Sarasvatī) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. Source

Parvati (IAST: Pārvatī) is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Source

These are just two among many Gods and Goddesses who are believed to have more than one power for themselves.

I do not know much about Buddhism, however since the Gods of Fortune are based on real-life counterparts, of which you can read in detail here, it is not at all far-fetched for the Gods to wield more than one power or for more than two, or even ten Gods to share the same title. Even if their Buddhist counterparts in real life wield only one power or even none, the concept of the Gods having more than one title is nothing new.

  • That seems to make sense. Are there similarities between the concepts of gods and goddesses among the japanese or budhism and hinduism? – Alchemist Apr 10 '16 at 14:17
  • @Alchemist They all have their similarities and differences. I don't know much about this subject. You can read about them in detail here. You can find a more comprehensive comparison chart here. – Ashishgup Apr 10 '16 at 14:32
  • I removed a cut off sentence, Ashish. I think you started it then made the paragraph above it. – Michael McQuade Apr 10 '16 at 17:13
  • @u人ʘ‿‿ ʘ人u Thanks. You're correct. I just forgot to erase that sentence after writing the paragraph above it. – Ashishgup Apr 10 '16 at 19:45
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he's both, kinda. on Wikipedia it says

Bishamon is the Japanese name for Vaiśravaṇa, a Buddhist deity.

following the link for Vaiśravaṇa and looking at the In Japan section it says

In Japan, Bishamonten (毘沙門天), or just Bishamon (毘沙門) is thought of as an armor-clad god of war or warriors and a punisher of evildoers. Bishamon is portrayed holding a spear in one hand and a small pagoda in the other hand, the latter symbolizing the divine treasure house, whose contents he both guards and gives away. In Japanese folklore, he is one of the Seven Lucky Gods.

the reason why i say kinda is because wikipedia says Bishamon is the god of war or warriors, however another site says he is a god of warriors but not of war

Bishamon is the god of warriors (but not of war) and prayed to for victory prior to battle. He is also a god of defense against foreign invaders, a deity of healing with the power to save emperors from life-threatening illness and to expel demons of plague (details below), to keep personal enemies at bay, and to reward followers with riches, good fortune, and even children. Around the 15th century, he was enlisted as one of Japan's Seven Lucky Gods owing to his association with treasure and wealth.

Source: Overview (Second Paragraphg)

so technically he is a god of warriors but since the definition of a warrior is

a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.

and are soldiers are generally used for wars it's probably common for people to think that a god of warriors is a god of war as well

the above quote also indicates he's one of the 7 lucky gods because of his association with treasure.

it's not unheard of for gods to be associated with more than one thing, for instance Amaterasu is seen as the goddess of the sun, but also of the universe and Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is the goddess of dawn, mirth and revelry.

i don't know much about Buddhism so i'm not sure about their deities but it's possible some could be associated with more than one thing since some of the kami in Shintoism are like Bishamon and are also Buddhist Deities.

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