Stillborn Idol of the Riverbed
Eika Ebisu's usual outfit. She's wearing a white dress embellished with red ribbons and spots.
Ishi no Ame (a Touhou LW original) refers to divine wrath that rains destruction down upon the land. This is an apt temperament for Eika, who dedicates herself to stacking stones. Eika is endowed with Water Phase, since she is a stillborn spirit, and Moon Essence, since her past is kept secret.The flexible and patient Water Phase resists Metal Phase, because metal collects water, but it is weak to Earth Phase, because earth directs water.The cooperative and indecisive Moon Essence resists the alluring and arrogant Sun Essence, but it is weak to the diverse and uncooperative Star Essence.
Eika Ebisu's ability as a stillborn spirit. The spirits of children who die before their parents are not permitted to cross the Sanzu River and instead must withstand horrific punishment from oni at Sai no Kawara while awaiting salvation at the hands of Ksitigarbha, a Bodhisattva... or so the famous tale goes. However, Eika and the other stillborn spirits' lives are not filled with pain but joy, almost as if Eika herself is a Bodhisattva who's come to save them.The stillborn spirits of Sai no Kawara love all the events Eika puts on, and by extension, they love her. To them, she's essentially an idol. Supposedly, her ability turns the loathsome, mind-numbing task of stacking stones into a fun activity. As a result, she's revered as a god of fortune. Even for normal humans, most of the day is consumed with dull routine tasks... So perhaps Eika's powers as a god benefit not only children but adults too.Eika's past is shrouded in mystery, but she seems to have a deep connection to Ebisu. Ebisu is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. In Japanese mythology, there's a god named Hiruko, who was set adrift at sea when he was still a child. It's said that Hiruko and gods like Sukunahikona and Kotoshironushi are all the same god―Ebisu.Whales, drowned corpses that float ashore, foreign gods that have established a following in Japan, and other mystical beings that traverse the sea are also sometimes referred to as Ebisu. Speaking of blessings, children, and whales... isn't there a pub called Geidontei somewhere in Gensokyo?
Eika Ebisu's Spread Shot (a Touhou LW original). Stillborn spirits attack her opponent. Jellyfish are free-swimming marine animals and are said to be embodiments of Ebisu, the god of voyages and the sea. However, it's said that Ebisu delivers blessings through objects that drift ashore, such as logs or even corpses, and this aspect of the god is represented by whales, not jellyfish.
Eika Ebisu's Focus Shot (a Touhou LW original). She stacks stones in this attack. According to ancient Buddhist teachings, a child dying before their parents is a sign of disloyalty. That child is thus not permitted to cross the Sanzu River and instead must continue to stack stones for their parents at Sai no Kawara. What's worse, oni are said to visit them and knock down any stone towers that are nearing completion. However, Eika and the other stillborns don't recognize they're stacking stones as a punishment and actually seem to enjoy their day-to-day lives. That's why they get so angry when anyone knocks down their stone towers.
Eika Ebisu's Spell Card. She stacks stones as if to create a forest of stone towers. The notion of building towers to send off the dead has existed since ancient times. There are many buildings constructed for this same purpose, including gorintou, a type of Buddhist pagoda, and sotoba, wooden grave tablets, which are worthy of particular note. It's said that stillborns build stone towers at Sai no Kawara as offerings for their parents, who they showed disloyalty to by dying prematurely. However, in modern times, where children's human rights are widely recognized, stacking stones is enjoyed as a stillborn game or contest. Tradition is important, but so is ensuring children enjoy themselves.
Eika Ebisu's Spell Card. Children lost in limbo attack her enemies. According to certain Western teachings, children's souls that weren't able to find salvation become trapped in a place called limbo. It's said they must wait there until judgment day, which is similar to what's said about Sai no Kawara. Apparently, there are also legends that say such children's souls become fairies and remain on Earth.
Eika Ebisu's Last Word (a Touhou LW original). She performs on a floating treasure ship in this attack. As the god of blessings, the riverbed stillborns' idol, Eika, provides wealth and good fortune. Ebisu was put on a reed boat that drifted far from his parents. At the end of its long voyage, the boat returned as a wooden treasure ship with Ebisu still on board.The Ame no Iwakusufune is believed to be the same vessel as the Tori no Iwakusufune, a.k.a. the Ame no Torifune, which in turn, is the same entity as the divine bird, Ame no Hinadori. Furthermore, it's theorized that this divine entity, Futsunushi, and Inasehagi are all the same god. If that's the case, then this god is an extremely powerful and important figure that played a central role in the myth of kuni-yuzuri (transfer of the land) along with Takeminakata.The idea of a bird being a boat is not the least bit strange since, in ancient times, the sky and the sea were thought of as extensions of the land.
They may be stillborn spirits, but they don't curse people. That's not the same as saying they're harmless, though.
The stillborn spirits are doing their best to stack stones on the riverbed. Eika's also an enthusiastic, quick-witted event organizer.
Even before being given a proper sendoff, she was a god of fortune. How she came to be one, though, is not a pleasant tale.