Permalink | Aug 15 2009
- Release Date: August 2009
- License: Freeware
- Format: Desktop Icon, ICNS, ICO, PNG, and iContainer
Fukusuke (福助) is one of the Japanese traditional characters which are said to increase the fortune and bring good luck. Formally dressed in a Kamishimo ceremonial dress with a big head and Fukumimi (plump ears, said to bring good fortune). Fukusuke has a distinctive appearance. The original form is said to be established in the mid Edo period. It became widely known after a Fushimi doll from Kyoto had used Fukusuke as a motif. Fukusuke's design clearly shows the aspects of Edo cultures such as Fukumimi, based on then-popular physiognomy; Kamishimo, a customarily-worn formal dress in the Edo period; patterned Kamishimo dyed with fine repeated Komon patterns; and Seiza, an upright sitting position which was popular in the mid Edo period. As folk religion spread among general public between the Edo and Meiji periods, good-luck-bringing Fukusuke was considered "Kami no okyaku (a guest of god)" as a god of happiness. And people put a Zabuton cushion under the Fukusuke doll to show courtesy. When the character was established, the motif was a baby-faced man. But since the Meiji era, the design has transformed into an appearance of a child under the influence of the childlike characters from the West such as Kewpie and Billiken.
The Fukusuke icon was planned as part of the icon set for the EDO project launched in 2004, and is one of the motifs not chosen in the final selection stage. This time, based on the references which I gathered as I planned it then, it was finally visualized after taking five years to complete. Keeping the basic design as a child-looking Fukusuke doll in mind, I intended to make it look modern.