The Billiken originated from the god of happiness that the American artist Florence Pretz, saw in a dream in 1908. The name “Billiken” supposedly came from the then-president William Howard Taft’s nickname “Billy” plus the suffix -ken for “small”.
The Billiken was introduced to Japan around 1909. Tamurakoma (Kandaya Tamura Shoten) registered it as a trademark in 1911 and used it for their promotional goods and as their product mascot.
In 1912, the Billiken first appeared in Shinsekai, Osaka, as a showpiece at Luna Park, a local amusement park that had opened at the same time as Tsutenkaku Tower in Shinsekai.
Many years later, the Billiken of Shinsekai made his return at Tsutenkaku Tower in 1979. He gained popularity among visitors as a god of happiness, as it was believed that rubbing the soles of his feet would bring good luck. In 2014, a new Billiken was installed to mark the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of Tsutenkaku Tower and Shinsekai. To this day, the Billiken is loved by many people as the god of good fortune at Tsutenkaku Tower.
The Billiken is said to have originated from artwork by the American artist Florence Pretz, who modeled the figure after the god she saw in a dream in 1908. Later, a company called the Billiken Company of Chicago produced and sold statues of the Billiken. These gained popularity as a mascot of happiness and contentment and resulted in worldwide popularity. The Billiken’s warm smile represents compassion and wealth, his seated posture with hands stretched out to his waist symbolizes the spirit of celebrating freedom, and his chubby figure and halo express prayers for the health and eternal happiness of humanity.
The Billiken was introduced to Japan in 1909 as a bringer of good fortune. With his distinctive pointy head and narrow eyes, the Billiken also caught popularity in Japan. Komajiro Tamura, the founder of Tamurakoma, registered the Billiken in 1911 as a representative trademark of his business with a prayer for the improvement of his products and the business prosperity of his customers. Since then, the Billiken has been loved by many, including Tamurakoma’s employees and customers, as a symbol of the company as well as a god of good fortune.
The Billiken enshrined at Tsutenkaku Tower, a sightseeing tower in Osaka, was created in 1979. It was modeled after the Billiken statue made by Tamurakoma in 1949, which is now enshrined at the company’s Osaka Headquarters. As a symbolic god of Osaka, the Billiken has been loved by many people, not only in Osaka but all throughout Japan. The old Billiken at Tsutenkaku Tower was replaced by a new one in 2012, and both the tower and the Billiken are popular Osaka sights, attracting large numbers of people.
It is said that rubbing the soles of the Billiken’s feet will bring good luck, so many people make a wish while doing so. The soles of the previous Billiken at Tsutenkaku Tower were famous for being polished and dented by being rubbed by a huge number of people.
Born in America and brought up in Osaka, Billiken is a unique and wondrous god. Billiken Shoten is a design brand inspired by Billiken, offering goods made from a new approach and based on the concepts of wondrousness, uniqueness, and happiness.
Billiken Creators Osaka is a pop culture event based in Osaka that transforms the Billiken into art.
Billiken Creators Osaka NFT Store offers for sale Billiken NFT artworks by the creators who participated in this event.
Simulation data is available so you can experience the Billiken in 3D, and enjoy his form from various angles.
The Billiken, a god of good fortune representing the Kansai region, is the official mascot of Tsutenkaku Tower and is often seen in a range of souvenirs, snacks, or as dolls in shops. The Billiken is expressed in two ways to represent its character.
The Symbols design is the one commonly seen inside Tsutenkaku Tower, and, as the design for the second-generation Billiken, is still used today. The Characters design was introduced to appeal to a broader generation after the third-generation Billiken took over. Both these designs are loved by many as the official mascot of Tsutenkaku Tower.