Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Japanese dog as a spiritual being

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/14 Animal, Traditional Culture , , ,

Dog in Japan

Shiba

-Shiba-
The very best dog in the world IMO.
Photo from Ashinari

One of the very popular animals in Japanese old tales.
As long as I remember, usually drawn as a white medium-size Japanese dog in a book, with a curled tail and erect, triangular ears like a Kishu dog.
The dogs are always loyal, take the good men’s side.
I can’t remember any tales they are described as evil characters.

As a spiritual being

Dogs were considered as a sort of sacred animal, which belong to both this human world and the spiritual world.
There are stories that dogs got rid of evil powers; one dog exposed the true identity of a fox specter disguised as a beautiful woman with its barks, the other lost its life after a fight against a monster monkey.
The government had the department to keep dogs back then for hunting / guarding, maybe also as a talisman against evil.
I couldn’t find proper resources, but I heard the bark of a dog had been believed to get rid of evil spirits in old times, people even had guards who imitate its barking sound.
This does not mean dogs were always treated well, though there are several shrines dedicated to them or enshrined as divine messengers.

-"Konpira Inu" statue in the "Konpira" shrine.  Some people sent their dogs to "Konpira" shrine as their deputies-

-The "Konpira Inu" statue in the "Konpira" shrine-
This one is not really a messenger from God, but to God.
Some people sent their dogs to "Konpira" shrine instead of themselves in Edo era.(1603–1868)

However, dogs could do harm sometimes when they were working for evil-minded master(s).
I’ve seen an official letter at the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, ordering to find out the master of inu-gami (dog-god literally, but dog spirit would be more suitable in this case) which was giving damage to the city for a few days.

 

Stories of real-life dogs

[Hachi]

Probably, the most famous Japanese dog is “Hachi”, even Hollywood made his story into a movie featuring Richard Gere.
Hachi waited his deceased master to come home at Shibuya Station in Tokyo till he died.
You can see his statue in the little square in front of Shibuya Station, although it’s a second statue made.
The first one was removed to be recycled in 1944, because the government collected metals as much as possible to keep fighting in WW2.
(My mother once told me they had collected even small metal buttons from student clothes)

Hachi-ko

-The "Hachi-ko" statue in Shibuya-
Photo from Photo AC

 

[A loyal dog in “Nihon Shoki”]

Another story, which is in a book called “Nihon Shoki” (The Chronicles of Japan) finished in 720, is about a white dog.
In July of 587, there was a battle between Mononobe and Soga, powerful clans at that time.
“Totoribe no Yorozu” was a warrior who belonged to the Mononobe side, ran away and hid in a forest after the head of Mononobe was killed.
He fought fiercely against his enemies, and eventually he stabbed his neck with his dagger and died.
Soldiers were ordered to cut him into eight pieces so that they could show each of them to the public at eight places.
Just when a commander of the unit tried to do so, a thunderstorm arrived and Yorozu’s white dog appeared.
The dog barked and twirled around its master’s body, then bit off Yorozu’s head, buried the head in an old mound.
It lay down beside, stayed there till it died of starvation.
People of the Royal court showed mercy to Yorozu and his dog after receiving reports of the incident, and ordered to bury each of them in a proper grave.
Their supposed-to-be graves are still in Osaka.

Kai dog

-Kai puppy-
Japanese dogs (especially Shiba!) are the best in the world IMO.
Photo from Ashinari

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Shogi_osho

Shogi, The General’s Board Game – Shogi Rules and Strategies

This will be the last part of the Shogi series. In case you missed the first posts about shogi, here they are: History and Origin, Shogi Pieces, Board and Gameplay. In this post, we will learn more about the shogi rules and strategies. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by […]

Read Article

judo

The “Gentle Way” of Judo – Competitive Judo

As noted in the history of judo, it was primarily made or developed by Jigoro Kano as a self-defense. As years passed by, it was expected for judokas to test their skills against each other. Thus, competitive judo began. History of Competitive Judo Competitive judo is a vital aspect of judo. It is where judokas […]

Read Article

065136

Karuta: Traditional Japanese Playing Cards – History

Karuta (かるた) is a Japanese card game. It is from the Portuguese word “carta” which means card. The basic idea of any karuta game is to be able to quickly determine which card out of an array of cards is required and then to grab the card before it is grabbed by an opponent. There […]

Read Article

Dog in the Konpira Shrine

Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 2 –

Konpira in Kagawa (2) Konpira-inu (Konpira dog) in Konpira Shrine Beside a copper torii near “mimaya” (stable for “shinme”. See this post), there is a statue of “Konpira-inu”. I mentioned a little bit about Konpira-inu in my dog post. In the Edo era, it was hard for common people to travel from the east of […]

Read Article

vacation

Golden Week – Shōwa Day

Tomorrow in Japan is Shōwa Day. It is the start of the so-called Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku). Often abbreviated as GW, Golden Week is a term applied to a series of public holidays between April and May. Golden Week The current holidays celebrated during this period are: April 29 – Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa […]

Read Article

Cascading water

Kyoto: Strolling around Kamogawa River and iconic Gion

After enjoying our morning hunt for momiji leaves (we enjoyed it so much that we did not realize that we have walked for more than two hours), we decided to take a short break before we continue our hunting trip. I know Kyoto is one of the best places to enjoy Japanese cuisine but we […]

Read Article

nengajo

New Year Holidays in Japan: Nengajou

For some other parts of the world, Christmas is the time for sending holiday greetings through postcards and mail. It is not much like that in Japan though. The Japanese receive holiday greeting cards in New Year’s Day (January 1), thus called Nengajou or the New Year’s Card. The New Year’s Card or Nengajou The […]

Read Article

kinrou kansha

Otsukaresama! – Kinrou Kansha no Hi or Labor Thanksgiving Day

Every 23rd of November is Kinrou Kansha no Hi (勤労感謝の日).The name of the holiday is made up of two words kinrou (勤労) which means labor, and kansha (感謝) which means gratitude. So, technically the holiday is translated as Labor Thanksgiving Day. As an effect of the Happy Monday System, because November 23 this year was […]

Read Article

hina dolls

Japanese Events and Celebrations According to Seasons

Japanese people love outdoor activities. During weekends or holidays, they will surely find ways to enjoy hanging out with their family or with friends. They usually go out for a picnic, barbecue party, camping and other sort of fun things to enjoy. Japanese also gather to celebrate the important events held within the country. The […]

Read Article

karuta

Karuta: Traditional Japanese Playing Cards – Variations

Mastering karuta requires a combination of quick reflexes and memorization. And for the Japanese language learner, karuta also offers the perfect blend of procrastination and productivity, a way to work and play at same time. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑