Okame, also known as Uzume or Otafuku is the name for the female half of a traditional Japanese Kyogen theatre pair. She is considered to be the Goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art. Her full cheeks and merry eyes are an unforgettable sight and a delight to behold. Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago, when the first Okame images were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty. Styles and tastes are subject to change, and the ancient Japanese might be surprised to learn that the name Okame is today sometimes used as a less-than-appreciated joking taunt by Japanese husbands and boyfriends who haven’t yet learned better. In contrast, a famous and contemporary Japanese Kyogen actor once commented that the countenance of Okame is what every man hopes his bride will look like on his wedding night.”
Okame’s themes are luck and kindness. Her symbols are masks and good-luck charms. In Japanese art, Okame is portrayed as simple and somewhat homely, yet Her domain is the beautiful energy of good fortune and kind acts. In this form, Okame gently reminds us that true beauty really does come from within. Local lore claims that any area that bears a mask of Okame’s likeness is blessed with Her lucky nature.