Benten is the Japanese goddess of love, the arts, eloquence, wisdom, knowledge, good fortune and water. She belongs to the groups of mythical gods called the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Of these seven she is the only goddess. Goddess Benten is the patroness of geishas, dancers and musicians. She is portrayed as a beautiful woman, sometimes riding a dragon while playing on a stringed instrument. She has eight arms and in her hands she holds a sword, a jewel, a bow, an arrow, a wheel, and a key. Her last two remaining hands are joined in prayer.
Stories have been told that when a dragon devoured many children, she descended to earth to stop his evil work. In other stories it is told that Benten's sympathy for young men who were chased by angry dragons were helped to escape because of her close ties with dragons. Originally she was a sea goddess or water goddess. In other stories she is noted for her kindness to lovers, therefore Benten is also considered the goddess of marriage.