2009/03/10

More Japanese Puppies

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As a fan of black-and-white Japanese dogs, I was thrilled to find these images.


Cover of the Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors (Nansou Satomi Hakkenden), epic Japanese novel written in the period 1814-1842. (Image source)

The dog theme derives from the origin myth of the eight warriors; besieged by his enemies, warlord Satomi promises his daughter Fuse-hime in marriage to the warrior who can break the siege and bring him the head of his enemy. His faithful dog Yatsufusa obeys. In the strange marriage, Fuse-hime remains a virgin but becomes miraculously pregnant. Mortally ashamed, she kills herself, but her eight sons' (puppies?) spirits fill the jewel beads of her rosary and disappear. Eventually, the sons of Fuse-hime are born of human parents around the country, and the novel tells the story of their exploits and final reunion.

Yatsufusa and Fuse-hime. (Source)

Edit. The dog's name, Yatsufusa (八房), means literally "eight spots". According to the novel, he was reared by a tanuki (raccoon dog, a badger-like canine with a reputation for supernatural mischief) in the village of Inugake in the Minamiboso area. Tourists can visit important locations of the novel as if it were historical fact; there is even a memorial for Yatsufusa and the tanuki (read about the Hakkenden tour in English and Japanese).

2 comments:

K @ Blog Goggles said...

Haha, they're adorable.

Tinet said...

I have that blue book cover as my desktop wallpaper right now ... :o3