There are more than thirty distinguishable forms of Ganesha in the Japanese iconographic tradition.
There are several dual forms. The most typical dual form is the Embracing Kangi. In this form two tall figures with elephant heads and human bodies, male and female, stand in embrace. A new concept of Vinayaka couple both elephant-headed – a unique development in the religious history of Japan. The concept of this twin form of Ganesha (with Ganeshani) could not develop in India. There are at least three variant types of Embracing Kangi figures. Orthodox Shingon Buddhism interprets the details of all three types as sophisticated allegorical symbols. Sanford believes that these orthodox Shingon interpretations, of considerable eventual importance in Japanese worship of Ganesha, developed during the Heian period in an attempt to legitimize Ganesha as a figure in Japanese Buddhism.