Originally depicted as a nihizo goddess (Buddhist deity with two arms), today Marici (The Buddhist god of war) is constructed in many forms including in the image of a male god or as a sanmen roppizo (Buddhist deity with three faces and six arms). As the symbol of heat-haze or shimmering light personified, Marici has been worshipped by samurai families since ancient times, Sengoku (warring-period) samurai Mori Motonari or Tachibana Dosetsu used the crest of Marici, while Yamamoto Kansuke and Maeda Toshiie—famous generals from the same period—were both said to be firm believers.
摩利支天, originally one of the gods of Hinduism in India, was later incorporated into Buddhism. She is revered as a goddess of warfare, courage, motherhood, and protection, particularly by warriors and samurai who held her in high esteem. She is often depicted wielding weapons, symbolizing bravery and strength.
The statues of Marishiten can be found in numerous temples and shrines, represented in various forms. She is often portrayed as a multi-armed female deity, with each arm holding weapons or symbols of protection, signifying her strength and protective role.
Marishiten's worship is closely associated with warfare and combat, making her especially revered by warriors and fighters. She is relied upon for protection from enemies and success in battle, and her influence grew within the context of martial arts and combat training.
Furthermore, Marishiten also embodies maternal and protective qualities, making her a guardian deity of children and households. Many parents prayed to her for the well-being and safety of their children.
The statue of Marishiten holds a significant place in the faith of both Japanese Buddhism and Shintoism, representing symbols of combat, protection, and motherly care. Her worship continues to be a means for individuals, including warriors, parents, and many others, to seek courage, protection, and domestic happiness.