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The Japanese noun hotoke () is a word of Buddhist origin and uncertain etymology.[1] It has several meanings, all but a few directly linked to Buddhism. It can refer to: Yuki

  • A person who has achieved satori (state of enlightenment) and has therefore become a "buddha".[1] (In Buddhism, the term "buddha" in the lower case refers to a person who has become enlightened (i.e., awakened to the truth).)[2][note 1]
  • The historical Gautama Buddha himself[1]
  • The statue or the name of a buddha[1]
  • The laws of Buddhism[1]
  • Figuratively, the performing of a Buddhist memorial service. The Eiga Monogatari for example contains a sentence in which the term is used in that sense.[1]
  • In common parlance, a dead person; his or her soul[1]
  • Figuratively, a benevolent person or someone dear to one's heart[1]
  • Hotoke can also be a person's name or a nickname. It is for example a female character in the Heike Monogatari[1] and daimyō Kōriki Kiyonaga's nickname.


  1. ^ The term is also sometimes used to represent Buddhism as a whole. For example, the expression "kami and hotoke" (神と仏) draws a distinction between Japanese kami and the enlightened beings of foreign Buddhism.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition (2008), DVD version
  2. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary 2nd edition, 2005, Oxford University Press, Inc.