The god of poverty. Bimbogami’s attentions will lead to poverty and misery, and people in some locations in Japan will carry out personal rituals to avert the god’s gaze. His attendant is the Death Watch beetle (Anobium notatum), a small black insect that infests rotted wood and old wooden houses, whose clicking betrays the presence of the kami. Bimbogami is black, and he is the shadow of Fuku-no-kami, the kami of wealth.

Until the latter half of the twentieth century, poverty was a very real threat for most Japanese. The average person could do little to stave off poverty, sometimes due to the exactions of landlords, sometimes to absence of work or famine. Poverty and the kami of poverty could not be avoided or propitiated. One could only hope that it would pass one by. There are thus no shrines or temples to Bimbogami.
References and further reading:

  • Joly, Henri L. 1967. Legend in Japanese Art. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co.


Handbook of Japanese Mythology written by Michael Ashkenazi – Copyright © 2003 by Michael Ashkenazi