Osaka asked not to directly rub goblin god’s feet as things slowly return to normal in the city
soranews24.com -- Jun 02
While still sitting on the possible cusp of second-wave coronavirus outbreaks in Japan, shops and attractions are slowly getting back to business. Far from a full blown reopening, however, tight restrictions are being exercised in several industries such as amusement park guests being asked to refrain from showing emotions and to practice social distancing with the ghosts in haunted houses.

Now, you might be asking: “Well, at least I can still go and rub the large feet of a monkey-like god statue in Osaka, right?”

Wrong! As the following news report shows, visitors to Osaka’s famous Tsutenkaku tower are instructed to instead “air touch” the soles of its famous Billiken statue for the time being.

If you weren’t asking the previous question, then you might now be asking: “What the hell are you talking about?”

It all started back in 1908, when an American artist by the name of Florence Pretz (no relation to the snack) had a vision of this mysterious creature in a dream. After committing its likeness to paper and giving it the name Billiken, Pretz patented her newfound deity as “The God of Things as They Ought to Be.”

Around that same time the Meiji restoration was in full swing in Japan, and the country was rapidly embracing Western culture, partly by scooping up the licenses for iconic western figures left and right. This is about the same time that American Kewpie dolls were imported to Japan, only to ultimately become the face of its leading mayonnaise brand.

For better or for worse, a prime minister of Japan during the Billiken fad, Terauchi Masatake, bore an uncanny resemblance to the magical troll and was even nicknamed “Prime Minister Billiken.”

For much of the early 20th century, Billiken lucky charms were enjoying huge popularity in both America and Japan and in 1912 a famous statue of him was placed in the original Tsutenkaku of Luna Park amusement park in what is now the Shinsekai area of Osaka. A Japanese superstition was also promoted that rubbing Billiken’s large protruding feet will bless you with good luck.

News source: soranews24.com
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