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“Fūjin and Raijin and Pokémon”

Fūjin and Raijin

Raijin and Fūjin

Raijin and Fūjin are Japanese legendary deities associated with Thunderstorms and Tornadoes.  Raijin is the god of thunder and storms.  According to Japanese mythology, he is usually depicted as beating on a drum to create thunder.  It is said that he “will descend from the clouds and take children away”.  In Shinto legend, the tornado god Fūjin “was present at the birth of the world”, and “the winds that flew from his bag allowed the sun to shine”.  He’s typically depicted as a demon with green skin. I found these images on Wikipedia while researching Japanese art.  Click the thumbnail below to see the full mural by Japanese artist  Tawaraya Sōtatsu.  It makes a great computer wallpaper!

"Fūjin and Raijin" by Tawaraya Sōtatsu

“Fūjin and Raijin” by Tawaraya Sōtatsu

Why would Raijin “take children away”?  This is my reasoning:  Japan does have a lot of steep topography.  Thunderstorms may form suddenly.  A sudden storm, with heavy rain and the resultant flash flood, could indeed sweep away children.  It would not be surprising for this to become the stuff of legend.  Also noticeable about Raijin is that “halo” around him with the round objects arranged in a circle.  It reminds me of “frontal symbols” on weather maps.  The most severe thunderstorms are indeed associated with the passage of weather fronts.

Why would Fūjin be depicted as green?  This one is tougher to argue.  Japan is a verdant green country, and there is much paddy rice growing during summer when tornadoes are most frequent.  Perhaps the “green skin” is the green debris caught up in the swirling vortex of tornado.   Funnel clouds over rice fields would have a greenish hue to them.  The “bag of wind’ carried by Fūjin could be the rotating bottom of the super-cell thunderstorm, from which tornadoes arise.  There are likely Japanese cultural reasons why he “allows the sun to shine”, however I will defer to more knowledgeable scholars of Japanese culture than myself.

It is also interesting that the Kanji symbols for thunderstorms and tornadoes resemble the deities as well as the atmospheric phenomena.

kanji T & T

The Thunderstorm symbols look like intense rain, and the down-strokes of this calligraphy may resemble lightning bolts.  The Tornado symbols look like a funnel cloud, with a swirl at the base.  The Kanji symbols also bear some resemblance to Thunderous and Tornadus — two legendary sky Pokémon from the Unova Region.   These Pokémon are based on the Raijin and Fūjin legends.  It is interesting that sometimes Pokémon games incorporate aspects of Japanese art and culture.  It would also be understandable if a player would nickname these Pokémon after the Japanese deities.  I taught my Thunderous the moves “Thunderbolt” and “Volt Switch” and “Dark Pulse”.  All moves one could associate with thunderstorms.

Register Tornadus in your Pokedex!

Register Tornadus in your Pokedex!

Oddly, Tornadus has the “Hurricane” move which does not look like a hurricane, in fact it looks like a group of tornadoes.  Next time you play Pokémon Black-and White consider the moves and/or name changes!

pokemon c ards TT

Images from the Pokemon Card Game

The name Fūjin also sounds like “Fujita” as in the late Theodore Fujita, who was THE expert on severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.  The Enhanced Fujita Scale of tornadoes bears his name.

Dr. Theodore Fujita

Professor Fujita in his lab.

If you ever hear of an “F-5” tornado, the F is for Fujita !!!

… or is it  Fūjin?

 

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Comments on: "Fūjin and Raijin and Pokémon" (4)

  1. Growing up in the midwest as a storm came in, and if the sky was green we knew that it was going to be a tornado, maybe the same thing occurs in japan?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very god post, you definitely put a lot of thought into it (^_^)

    So here are my two cents: As mythology says Raijin loves to eat childrens bellybuttons and that parents tell their children to hide their navels while there’s thunder outside. Though I am not sure where this linking of bellybuttons stems from, I think it is just a story to scare children (maybe so they don’t go outside in a thunder storm). If you think about it, fear as well as loud noises are both felt in the stomach, so maybe it’s an emotional association.

    The green skin from Fujin might also be explainable with another legend from chinese buddhism, saying that Fujin and Raijin actually were not gods from the beginning but demons who opposed Buddha and therefore were fought and after a hard battle were captured and since work for the heavens. Fujin and Raijin are always depicted quite frightening with horns and a wild expression, resembling the guardians of temples.
    (http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/28-bushu-kannon.shtml#wind-thunder)

    Both of them are actually guardians of a famous shrine, the Senso-ji in Asakusa where they stand beside the “Kaminari-mon”, the Thunder-Gate and guard the entrance.

    I think the comparison to your pokemon is great. Playing japanese Games might teach one more about japanese legends and mythology and one thinks (^_^)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] blogs on Pokémon have been fun! For example “Fujin and Raijin and Pokemon” linked here.  I know that many readers are not Pokemon players, however I try to make my Pokémon posts […]

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