Hotei: The Bodhisattva Maitreya
Based upon a Zen Monk ("Budai" in Chinese and "Hotei" in Japan) from the 10th century in China, he became to be known as the benevolent Bodhisattva Maitreya (the Future Buddha).
Hotei was a wandering sage with supernatural powers. His name means "cloth bag". Like the Western Santa Claus, he was said to have carried a sack full of candies and toys to give to village children. His fat belly and love of children also allign him with fertility and he is often worshipped by those wanting to have children.