Shuun Makita (牧田秀雲) is a celebrated Buddhist sculptor in Japan. Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1917, at a very young age he studied under Yokohama sculptor Hideaki Mochizuki in 1932. After this, he carved shrine and temple sculptures as well as Buddhist statues all over the country, including in the bell tower and main hall of the Higashi-Kanagawa Kodo Buddhist Fellowship. His efforts culminated in his receiving of a letter of appreciation from the governor, when he exhibited at Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, for the preservation of excellent works of traditional techniques. He is also known for the reproduction of Japan's Important Cultural Property, Namikiri Fudoson, Koyasan Nan-In Temple, Wakayama Prefecture and the production of Ji-shu Buddhism founder Ippen Shonin standing statues at Sumiyoshi Temple and Kyojuji Temple, Tomobe, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Hotei is one of the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin) in Japan. He is based on a Chinese Zen monk who lived over 1000 years ago. Many people considered that he would become a Buddha in the future because of his benevolent nature. It was due to his large protruding stomach and smile that he came to be known as the Laughing Buddha.