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Submitted on
February 23, 2013


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Japanese Guardian Dog -Komainu-

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 23, 2013, 6:56 PM
It's left undone for a long time to submitting my journal. I don't have interesting news, something exciting and so on around me recently. ^^;
Therefore I will sometimes submit journals which introduce Japanese culture, tradition, history, fashion and daily life, though I'm lazy and uncertain weather. :)

Part 1... "Komainu".

Komainu [狛犬] are always sitting at the gate of (or at the street side of) Jinja [神社] (Shinto shrine in Japan). They are guardians of Jinja. They are just gatekeepers of Jinja. Their figure is almost like dogs which muzzles are short. Their figure and expression are very strict, but a bit cute, I think. :D

Koimainu are originally Chinese Lion statues. They came from China to Japan with Buddhism thousand and several hundred years ago. Lions in China originally came from India, beyond mountains of Himalaya, through desert of central Asia, and via Silk Road. In addition to it, lions of Thailand and Cambodia also originate lion statues of India. They came along the sea. ^^

Lion statues which was born in ancient Central Asia spread to east and arrived to Japan, spread to west and arrived to Europe. That is to say, komainu are far relatives with lions which guarded at the gate of castles and palaces in Europe. :D
I probably talked it before, as I remember. :)
Komainu and Lion statures by SheltieWolf

The two komainu always make a set. The right one of the gate-side is opening mouth. The left one of the gate-side is closing mouth.
Japanese Guardian Dog by SheltieWolfJapanese Gardian Komainu by SheltieWolf
For example, he is the left one. :D

One of opening mouth is called [a (阿)] type. One of clothing is called [un (吽) ] type. Surely there mouth looks like they are pronouncing [a] and [un (=n)]. :D
[a] and [un] always make a set. [a] means "beginning", and [un] means "ending". That is to say, they are [truth of the whole world] of Buddhism in Japan.

Komainu of [un] type often has a horn on their forehead. And [a] type sometimes has a orb on their forehead. :D

A set of two Komainu at the gate is no rule and law about their gender. There are all sets, [male-female], [male-male], [female-female] and [unkown].
Surely almost komainu who are playing with their pup looks like female. But it's also unsure law. :)

They have a tough body. They are always muscular and look very strong. A good mane and a fine tail are symbols of them. They are just dependable guardians. Figure of Windy in Pokemon is a bit like komainu. :)
And I have a sense of affinity to komainu, because my original characters are also a bit like komainu. Takeru may be a far relative of komainu. :lol:


:star: Other journals about Japan
:bulletpurple: Kanji in Japanese Language…
:bulletblue: Cherry Blossoms across the Pacific Ocean…
:bulletgreen: Japanese Dogs 1 (Akita)…
:bulletyellow: Japanese Dogs 2 (Shiba)…
:bulletorange: Snow Wall Japan…
:bulletred: Japanese Dogs 3 (Relation between Dogs and Wolves)…
:bulletpurple: Ookami (A god of the wolf in Japanese Mythology)…
:bulletblue: Hanabi Festivals -Season of Fireworks in Japan-…


:bulletred: My fan club was opened. :bulletred:

:bulletgreen: It's a big pleasure for me. ^^

My fan club :icondersheltie-fan-club:

Established by :iconxxwanderingwarriorxx: :)

I hope you will also join it. ^^


My characters' introduction

Perhaps new visitors don't know their character and backbone. So I write their introduction on my journal. I changed design of their costume recently.


:star:Takeru [ 武 ]:star:

Warrior Wolf by SheltieWolf Samurai Wolf by SheltieWolfWolf Warrior by SheltieWolf Wolf Spirit by SheltieWolf Warrior Wolf by SheltieWolf

He is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone"
He is a son of the "Hero of Fire", who passed away (or missed) several years ago. Takeru is proud of his father.
Takeru's mane is brilliant red. His element is fire. He is a brave and indomitable male wolf.

I imaged his costume from Yoroi [ 鎧 ] and Kabuto [ 兜 ]. Yoroi is a traditional Japanese armor which was used by Samurai [ 侍 ]. Kabuto is a helmet used with a yoroi.
An golden something on his head is Kuwagata [ 鍬 形 ]. Kuwagata is a kabuto's decoration. I guess its shape originates from stag beetles and deer. It was a symbol of power and nobility for higher samurai in rank.
A red something on his shoulders are Osode [ 大 袖 ]. Osode is a part of a yoroi. It protected his shoulder from the attacks.  It did the function of a shield. Samurai guarded enemy's attack by it. So samurai never had a shield in a battle.
Parts on his front legs are gauntlets. It's called Kote [ 籠手 ]. Kote is samurai's gauntlet.
His symbol on his Kote is Kamon [ 家 紋 ]. Kamon is Japanese family heraldic symbol. Almost all of Japanese have Kamon.
This kamon is "Taka no Ha" [ 鷹 の 羽 ]. It means "Falcon's plume". Two plume cross in the circle. It is one of the popular kamon in Japan. Especially samurais were fond of using this, because they hoped they lived like a brave falcon.
And as this is my family's kamon, So I love it.

:star:Oto (Oto-Tachibana) [ 乙 橘 ]:star:

Wolf Magic by SheltieWolf Beautiful Wolf by SheltieWolf Wolf Jump by SheltieWolf Angel Wolf by SheltieWolf Mother Wolf by SheltieWolf

She is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". Her element is water.
She is an affectionate, merciful and mild girl. But she will get angry if enemies hurt her family and friends, especially she terribly furious when Takeru is hurt by enemies.
Oto's mother is "the Foxes", father is "the Wolves". So she and her brother is a wolf/fox hybrid. They make good use of wonderful power like Magic, which is called "Genjutu" or "Youjutu".
(Actually, foxes appear in a lot of Japanese folklore as mysterious characters. They often tricked and cursed the people in a weird power. On the other hand, they are worshiped as the servants of Inari-shin. Inari-shin is a god of a good harvest.Well… why did they become the servants of Inari-shin?Since foxes have big tails which looks like good ears of rice, they became it.)
She lost her mother and missed her brother several years ago. Then the Chief (Takeru's grandfather) found her and he has brought up her as his child with Takeru and Inayori.)
She hoped she can meet her brother again someday.

I imaged her ribbon from Hagoromo ( 羽 衣 ) of Tennyo ( 天 女 ).
Tennyo are women who live on heaven. They appear in many Japanese tradision.
They cloth in Hagoromo. Hagoromo has a mysterious power. Tennyo can fly the sky, 'cause they cloth in it.


:weed: The follow is one of Japanese folklore. :weed:

Long long ago, One Tennyo came from heaven to the earth and played in the water. She took off her Hagoromo and hung it on the tree. One man saw it. He became to love her. So he stole and hid her Hagoromo. Tennyo wasn't able to go back to heaven. She cried and begged him to give her clothes back. But he refused. She had no choice but to married him...
Someday a child was born from her, and he was going to be very happy. But one day, she found her Hagoromo.
She alone went back to heaven. He cried. But she was never going to be back him...

~ Tennyo's folklore exists not only Japan but also East Asia and South-East Asia. ~

:star:Mikabosi [ 甕 星 ]:star:

Kendo Wolf by SheltieWolfKendo Wolf by SheltieWolf Wolf Dash by SheltieWolf Wolf's Fight by SheltieWolfWolf Pup by SheltieWolf

He is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". His element is sky.
He is clever and keen wolf. But, at first he confronts Takeru. His girlfriend was taken as a hostage by monsters and he can't disobey their order. But Mikaboshi and Takeru co-operate and rescue his girlfriend from the enemies. Mikabosi thanks Takeru greatly and he becomes Takeru's best friend.

I imaged his armour from an armour (bogu) [ 防 具 ] of Kendo [ 剣 道 ]. Kendo is a Japanese martial art of sword fighting based on a martial art of samurai "Kenjutsu" [ 剣 術 ]. Kendo originates samurais' sword skills in the battle field. There is samurais' way of the life "Bushido" in kendo. It means not only "strength" but also "brevity", "aggressiveness", "politeness", "respect", "calmness", "generosity" and "nobility".
I like a design of Kendo armour.

:star:Yachihoko [ 八 千 矛 ]:star:

Thunder Wolf by SheltieWolfWolf Armor by SheltieWolfPoor Wolf by SheltieWolfMale Wolf by SheltieWolfWolf Smile by SheltieWolf

He is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". His element is thunder.
He is a strong and gentle wolf. He like to take care of puppies and weak. But he has a sad memory. His family was killed by enemies and became an orphan. But he overcome the trouble and became a strong warrior. He has hoped to be strong for protecting his family and friends because he dislike to lost them again. He has trained his body and fighting skills hard.

:star:Uzume [ 宇 売 ]:star:

Japanese Wolf by SheltieWolf Wolf's howl by SheltieWolf Uzume - Smile of Wolf Girl - by SheltieWolf Yawn : Little Canine Pup by SheltieWolf

She is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". Her element is wind.
Her costume originated from Japanese Kimono [ 着 物 ] and Kanzashi [ 簪 ]. As you know, Kimono is Japanese traditional clothes. Kanzashi is a Japanese woman's traditional hair accessory which functions as a hair pin.
Uzume is a cheerful mood maker. Besides she can sing with beautiful voice.

:star:Kibi [ 吉 備 ]:star:

Happy Wolf Couple by SheltieWolf

He is one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". His element is earth.
Kibi is a brave warrior. He will lose his friends because monsters kill them. He revenged them. Takeru and his company helped Kibi when Kibi fought against Ura, who killed Kibi's friend.

:star:Inayori [ 稲 依 ]:star:

Wolf Roar by SheltieWolfSnowy Wolf by SheltieWolfWolf family by SheltieWolf Indomitable Wolf by SheltieWolf

He will be one of the "Heroes of Spiritual Stone". His element is light.
He is a second cousin of Takeru. (Takeru's father is the "Hero of Fire". An uncle of the "Hero of Fire" is the Chief. The chief's grandson is Inayori.
At first, he is a weak and coward puppy. But he will become a brave and strong male wolf as Takeru. Puppy Inayori didn't have a mane and fis fur's colour is all brown. But it will change gradually. Adult Inayori will have a golden mane and beautiful fur.

:star:Hozumi [ 穂 積 ]:star:

Fox family : Dear My Mother .. by SheltieWolf

He is Oto's brother. His fur is black like mid-night. Oto can meet him after a lot of trouble. He will be the last one of"Heroes of Spiritual Stone". His element is night.

:bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred: :star: :bulletred:
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V-drift Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student General Artist
I know the journal is old, but culture like this from other places are thing that got me into traveling in the first place. hopefully, I can start traveling soon. :aww: I want to visit so many places.
SheltieWolf Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I hope you will get a chance to visit Japan someday. :D
V-drift Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student General Artist
It will take a miracle, but I plan to do so! I even want to try many things I did not think it was true. Like sea-salt ice cream. I always though it was made up.
SheltieWolf Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing! :D
Actually I've never eaten sea-solt ice cream. How was it's taste? :p
V-drift Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Student General Artist
I heard it's salty, but sweet too. Though at first, i though it was made up until I saw a Japanese music video with it too. Though I might be confusing it because it was the same color. light blue apperantly.
SheltieWolf Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. :)
I will try to eat it in this summer, I think. :p
V-drift Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Okay. if you see it, tell me if it is true how it tastes. :D If you don't see it anywhere, i got my hopes too high again then. ^^;
battlemage68 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I read it and found it was very interesting and wasn't the Komainu the inspiration for the pokemon growlithe?
Lyran-Wolf Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Student Digital Artist
ah this was interesting read, thank you!
SheltieWolf Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! And you are welcome! ^^
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