Showing posts with label tanuki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tanuki. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Kawai Springs Chiburijima

Chiburijima is the smallest of the four inhabited islands that make up the Oki Islands of the coast of Shimane. With only 600 residents there are not a lot of shrines or temples, and one of the most popular sacred spots is the springs just outside the village of Kawai.

Springs will often have a statue next to them, but here there are lots including a Fudo Myo I was glad to see. There were numerous other Buddhist figures, but the most were of Jizo including a large one and multiple smaller ones.

To say that Japanese culture has an obsession with ranking things would be an understatement. The spring here is classed as one of the Top !00 Exquisite and Well Conserved Waters of Shimane.

Also unusual for the Oki islands is the statue of a tanuki. They are not native to the islands and Chiburijima is the only island with some because of an accidental introduction about 60 years ago. They are said to now outnumber the humans by three to one.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Diverse statuary at Kosenji Temple

Kosenji Temple in Ebino, Miyazaki has a wide range of statues on display inside and out. Flanking the large Fudo MyoO statue were a pair of very stylized Tanuki statues, the one on the left being obviously male.Not sure of their relationship with Fudo though.

There were several "child-like" Jizo. Known as guardian of deceased children, many have this child-like appearance, but seems to me to be more a part of the general "kawaii" culture that is such a large part of contemporary Japanese culture....

There was a fairly standard statue of Kannon, a deity which has many forms. One forms sees young children around her, but here there were frogs.

The frog is called kaeru in japanese, which is also the same word for "return", so commonly frog statues are a kind of good luck charm for returning safely from a journey etc....

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Meet the Neighbours

The noise of my neighbours in the forest behind my house yesterday has prompted me to post some photos of some of them. earlier posts have lost their photos and it is too much trouble to have to go through and edit and repost.

Many of my neighbours, members of my community, are not human. There is a big troop of monkeys that visit regularly. It has been entertaining to watch them and learn a little of their habits and behaviours, but their tendency to treat my garden as a supermarket does tee me off sometimes.

Tanuki are also very commonly seen, these were photoed right outside my living room. They are fairly shy and cause no damage to my life. Often I will also see badgers, foxes, and civets passing through by my house on their rounds.

Several species of frog and toad are welcome visitors. In the garden they eat bugs, and they in turn are eaten by snakes and birds. When tilling I will often disturb ones hibernating in the cold weather. When the rice paddies are flooded in late spring the noise of their calling reverberates within our narrow, steep valley and can be quite deafening.

Mostly living below the house, though regularly found running around inside, are giant centipedes. They are quite poisonous so I will usually kill them at the request of my wife. Usually traveling in mated pairs, when one has been caught it is best to be extra vigilant until its partner is found.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two Tanuki


For a couple of months I have been enjoying the daily visit to my backyard by the local badger.

A couple of weeks ago there was an enormous fight right outside my window. It was dark and the weeds were high so I was unable to see what was fighting.


Since then the badger has not been seen, but each afternoon or early evening we get a visit from a pair of tanuki. I'm guessing it was they who fought the badger and won, though I am surprised. I would have thought the badger was stronger, but the tanuki are faster and there are two of them....


I'm guessing they are a mating pair as fall is the mating season. In English they are called racoon dogs. They look a little like racoons but are unrelated. They are related to dogs and foxes.


They are common to see, though its unusual to get to see them so close. They are the most common form of roadkill.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Almost the 7 Lucky Gods of Japan


I found this eclectic tableau at the entrance to Suisei-en on the yamanobenomichi.

The figure on the far left is Hotei, one of Japan's 7 Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin), and is associated with abundance and good health. He came from China where he is named Budai, and is also known as the laughing Buddha, which is the name I associate him with as I had a small statue of him when I was young.

The gentleman in the middle back is Fukurokuju, another member of the Shichi Fukujin, and he is associated with wisdom and longevity and probably derives from a Chinese star God, Shou.

To the right stand 2 tanuki, who are not gods or kami, but have existed in Japanese folklore since ancient times as shape-shifters. They are also associated with good fortune.

In the center are Daikoku and Ebisu, both members of the Shichi Fukujin and often equated with Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi. Daikoku is the god of wesalth, commerce , and trade, and is derived from the Hindu God Shiva. Ebisu is the god of fishing and merchants, and is usually believed to be the only one of the Shichi Fukujin not from India or China.

The 2 snakes in the front I'm not sure about. Snakes have many connotations in Japan, especially water, so they may be representations of Benzaiten, one of the Shichifukujin associated with music, art, and eloquence. Based on a Hindu River God, Saraswati.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tada-Ji Kawaii


One aspect of Japanese culture that I find often overbearing is the kawaii culture. usually translated into english as "cute", it is everywhere. Usually another "k" word:- kitsch-, is more appropriate, but sometimes there is some genuine cuteness, like when I was at Tada-Ji. The buddhist statue above is made from fishing net bouys.


On the steps of the main hall, a buddhist Tanuki (racoon-dog). The usually visible huge testicles of the tanuki are here syutably covered.


The red caps and bibs on statues are seen to be cute by many foreigners. I'm not sure if these are mizuko Kannon, or mizuko Jizo.


In front of the temple was a small mizuko Jizo altar. childrens toys are commonly found at Jizo altars.