Japanese dragon meanings as well as the Japanese dragon symbols are very similar to Chinese dragons. One big difference is the Japanese dragon has only three toes or claws while the royal Chinese dragon has five claws and the common Chinese dragon has four toes.
Two Types of Japanese Dragons
There are two basic types of Japanese dragons. Dragons are believed to control rain, fire, and the earth.Related Articles
Japanese Water Dragon
One type of Japanese dragon, a Japanese water dragon, is a water deity found in bodies of water or rain. The Japanese word for water dragon is Mizuchi. The influence of Mizuchi appears to come from a Chinese dragon, and it is a wingless serpent that has clawed feet.
Japanese Sky Dragon
Another type of Japanese dragon is found in the sky or clouds.
Japanese Dragon vs. Chinese Dragon
There are similarities and differences between Japanese and Chinese dragons. One of the main differences between the two is the number of toes each has. Mythology and meanings are similar, most likely because the two share similar origins in ancient Chinese civilization.
Dragons in Japanese Mythology
It's believed that the dragon originated in Japan with only three toes and as it migrated North, it gained another toe. It finally traveled far north where it received its fifth and final additional toe or claw.
Different Japanese Words for Dragon
In the Japanese language there are quite a few words for dragons. Two of the most popular words are ryu and tatsu, the latter is taken from an old Japanese dialect which translates in English to mean "sign of the dragon." Kanji is modern Japanese for dragon.
Yin and Yang of Dragons
Dragons are the embodiment of yin and yang. The Japanese dragons, as with most Asian dragons, are slender and long like a snake and are a composite of nine different animals with chin whiskers.
- Deer - Horns
- Camel - Head
- Rabbit - Eyes
- Snake - Neck
- Cockle - Abdomen
- Carp - Scales
- Eagle - Claws
- Tiger - Paws
- Ox - Ears
Japanese Dragon Symbols
Depictions of dragons are used throughout the Japanese culture as symbols of strength, courage, and magic. Unlike the dragons found in Western mythology, Asian dragons don't have wings, but most can fly. Asian dragons can fly due to a knot on top of its head called Chi'ih muh which magically enables it to fly. Some dragons can also live underneath the water and were believed to reside in large bodies of water such as lakes and oceans.
Dragons: Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines
You'll find plenty of dragon symbols in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, especially those located near bodies of water. It's very common for temple and shrine names to contain the word dragon in them. Dragon motifs and paintings adorn temples and shrines. Many of the ceilings have painted murals depicting various dragons. Dragon heads often adorn bells and other objects.
Tattoos of Japanese Dragons
Japanese dragons are also used in a wide variety of stylistic depictions found in historic and modern tattoos. If you're thinking about getting a dragon tattoo, you'll want to take the time to study various designs that represent the dragonlike strengths and traits you possess or wish to draw to you. There are many color combinations available for these detailed designs. The Japanese believed that if they had a dragon tattoo it would imbue them with its power and magic.
Different Dragons and Gods
Japanese dragons are tied directly to deities. Many of the Japanese gods shape-shifted into dragons. Japanese mythology has an abundance of stories about gods and dragons.
This sea god is also known as the dragon god, Ryujin, and has the ability to shape-shift into human form.
Former sea goddess rode a dragon. Two myths surround this goddess. Both state she married a dragon king to stop him from terrorizing the people on an island. Her love transformed her dragon king husband and Benten became the goddess of love. Later her favors were bestowed upon artists and muscians. The union of Benten and the dragon king symbolizes the balancing power of yin and yang.
Japanese Blue Dragon
This dragon guards and protects the zodiac. Symbolizes leadership.
Kiyo or Kiyohime
A priest fell in love with a young woman and soon tired of her. Abandoned, the woman studied magic at a temple and transformed into a dragon. She attacked the priest who attempted to find refuge underneath the monastery bell. Kiyo breathed fire and melted the bell, killing the priest. Kiyo symbolizes vengeful power and the consequences of giving into desire.
O Goncho White Dragon
White dragon that appears every fifty years, transforming into the shape of a golden bird. If O Goncho cries out, the world will endure a famine. O Goncho symbolizes lack.
The dragon king wanted to eat a monkey's liver to cure a rash. He sent the jellyfish to fetch a monkey, but the monkey tricked the jellyfish When the jellyfish returned empty-handed, the outraged dragon king beat the jellyfish until all of its bones were crushed. This is why the jellyfish has no bones. Ryujin symbolizes the power of the sea.
Sea dragon who married a mortal man, bore his son then returned to her undersea world. The son married Toyo-tama's sister and bore the first emperor of Japan, descendent of the dragons. Toyo-tama symbolizes true love.
Three Well Known Evil Japanese Dragons
Contrary to many beliefs, Japanese dragons aren't always benevolent. There are many myths about dragons that are malevolent like western mythological creatures. And while the majority of Japanese dragons don't have wings, there are still several ancient stories of winged dragons.
This dragon symbolizes looking all ways before taking action.
This drgaon symbolizes the concept you're never finished until the last task or detail is completed.
This dragon symbolizes hidden truths and the freedom gained by discovering the truth.
Historical Evidence of Dragon Symbols
Japanese dragon symbols are evidence of myths that have formed a complex belief system within the Japanese culture.
© LoveToKnow Media. All rights reserved.Sours: https://feng-shui.lovetoknow.com/Japanese_Dragon_Symbols
Japanese dragon myths are both strongly inspired by Chinese and Hindu dragon myths, and still very much unique. It’s fair to say that Japanese mythology has one of the most diverse collections of dragon types, variations, myths, meanings, and nuances.
Whereas in most other cultures, dragons are seen as either always evil creatures that have to be slain by the hero or always benevolent and wise spirits, in Japanese mythology, dragons are more complex, often exhibiting characteristics of both good and evil.
Let’s take a closer look at Japanese dragons and why they’re so popular.
Types of Japanese Dragons
The dragons of Japanese myths are powerful beings that control water and rains, and are believed to live in bodies of water, like rivers or lakes. The two main types of Japanese dragons include:
- Japanese Water Dragon – this type of dragon is similar to the Chinese dragon and is found in sources of water. Called Mizuchi, the water dragin is long and serpent-like, and is believed to have been a water deity.
- Japanese Sky Dragon – these dragons were said to live in the clouds or in the heavens, and didn’t have a special connection to water.
Chinese vs. Japanese Dragons
We can’t talk about Japanese dragons before first examing the influence of Chinese and Korean dragons and myths on the Japanese culture. The various words for dragon in Japanese are written with Chinese kanji letters.
Many of the dragons in Japanese mythology are similar in both appearance and meaning to the classic Chinese Lung dragons.
- They are viewed as benevolent water spirits that live in the sea or rivers
- They are believed to bring luck and symbolize power, strength, and authority.
- Physically, they have elongated serpentine bodies with two or four short legs or no legs at all.
- When they have wings, they are small and bat-like, just like those of their Chinese counterpart.
One of the few physical differences between Chinese and Japanese dragons is that Chinese dragons have four or five claws on their feet with five-clawed dragons being viewed as more powerful and regal, while in Japan mythology, most dragons have only three claws on their feet.
China and Japan even share many specific dragon myths and characters. The astrological Four Symbols are a good example:
- The Azure Dragon named Seiryū in Japan and Qinglong in China
- The White Tiger dragon named Byakko in Japan and Baihu in China
- The Vermilion Bird dragon named Suzaku in Japan and Zhuque in China
- The Black Tortoise dragon named Gembu in Japan and Xuanwu in China.
The four dragon kings of the east, south, west, and north seas are another touching point between the two cultures, existing in both cultures.
However, not all Japanese Lung-like dragons are directly taken from Chinese myths. Most other Japanese dragons have their own myths and characters, even if their visual appearance and overall meaning is inspired by Chinese legends.
Another great influence on Japanese dragon mythology comes from the Hindu Nāga myths even though they arrived in Japan through Buddhism, which itself was also strongly inspired by the Hindu Nāga dragons.
The Nāga (or plural Nāgi) were different from what people in the west usually associate with dragons but are counted as such nevertheless. These bizarre creatures typically had half-human and half-snake bodies with long tails. They could also often transition between fully human or fully serpent forms and had multiple open-hooded cobra heads, sometimes in addition to their human heads.
The Japanese Nāgi were also believed to control the ebb and flow of the sea’s tides through the “tide jewels” they had in their underwater castles. In Hinduism, the Nāgi are typically benevolent or morally neutral sea-dwelling and semi-divine creatures with powerful and rich underwater civilizations.
In Japanese mythology, however, the Nāga are a bit different.
There, these mythical creatures are worshipped as rain deities similar to how Lung dragons are worshipped in Chinese mythology. The Nāgi are also viewed as protectors of Buddhism and the underwater palaces they live in are more so inspired by Chinese dragons’ palaces rather than those of the original Hindu Nāgi.
The reason for that is simple:
While the Nāga myths originated in Hinduism, they came to Japan through Chinese Buddhism so the Nāga and Lung dragon myths are intertwined in Japan.
Classic Japanese Dragons
What makes Japanese dragon myths truly unique, however, are the many indigenous dragon myths in Japanese culture. Once the Hindu Nāga and Chinese Lung dragon myths became popular in Japan, many other myths were quickly invented in addition to them, and those are where Japanese creativity, culture, and unique morality are easily visible.
The main unique characteristic of many of the indigenous Japanese dragon myths is the “humanity” given to these creatures. Whereas in most other mythologies they are either evil monsters or benevolent spirits, in Japan dragons are much more human and often demonstrate human emotions and experiences.
Popular Japanese Dragons
In Japanese myths, dragons often fall in love, mourn losses, experience sorrow, and regret, and seek redemption or retribution. Here are some of the most popular Japanese dragons.
- Ryūjin is one of the most important of all Japanese dragons, as he was the deity of the sea. He represented the power of the ocean and was a patron of Japan. Considering that the sea and seafood are important for Japanese livelihood, Ryūjin plays a significant role in Japanese culture and history. In fact, he’s believed to be one of the forefathers of the Japanese imperial dynasty.
- Kiyohime, also known as the Purity Princess, was a teahouse waitress who fell in love with a Buddhist priest. After the priest denied her love, however, Kiyohime started to study magic, turned herself into a dragon, and killed him.
- Yamata no Orochi is a mythical monster-like Japanese dragon that had eight heads and tails. It was slain by Susano-o to save Kushinada-Hime and win her as his bride.
- In another myth, the fisherman Urashima Tarō rescued a turtle from the sea but the animal took the fisherman to the underwater dragon palace Ryūgū-jō. Once there, the turtle transformed into the attractive daughter of the ocean dragon god, Ryūjin.
- Benten, the Buddhist patron goddess of literature, wealth and music, married a sea dragon king to prevent him from ravaging the land. Her compassion and love changed the dragon king, and he stopped terrorizing the land.
- The O Goncho was a white Japanese dragon, that lived in a deep pool of water. Every fifty years, the O Goncho transformed into a golden bird. It’s cry was a sign that famine and distruction would come to the land. This dragon myth brings to mind the story of the phoenix.
These and many other humanized dragon myths exist in Japanese mythology alongside the more standard representations of dragons as benevolent spirits or powerful monsters.
Japanese Dragon Facts
They are called ryū or tatsu.
Ryujin refers to the dragon king and lord of the serpents in Japanese mythology.
They’re usually depicted as living in bodies of water, the sea or in the clouds.
It only has 3 whereas Chinese dragons have 4 or 5. This is the main difference between Chinese and Japanese dragons.
There are depictions of both good and evil dragons in Japanese mythology. Chinese influence resulted in a more positive depiction of dragons as benign and beneficial beings.
Japanese mythology is rich with stories in which dragons play central roles. Sometimes depicted as human-like and often intermarrying with humans, Japanese dragons are unique and intriguing characters that continue to be popular.
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2 Japanese kanji symbols for DRAGON
All about DRAGON in Japanese!
Dragon says RYU in Japanese and we have two symbols for it.
Here’s the simple one.
And this is a bit complicated one.
What’s the difference between these two symbols? Which one should I choose?
Basically the same! You can choose your favorite one by intuition. But the simple one is used mainly for Western dragons, and the complicated one is used for Asian dragons.
If you want to mean a fire dragon or a flying dragon with wings in fantasy tales, the simple one is more suitable.
An Asian dragon doesn’t have wings and it has a long body like a snake.
It’s like Shenron in Dragon Ball!
Exactly! Shenron is the Asian dragon god and he uses the complicated one.
If you prefer the image, choose the complicated one.
Both symbols have strong, powerful, manly, and divine impressions. They are sometimes used for boy names.
The complicated one was made first. It pictures a snake with decoration on its head. The simple one was made by simplifying the original character.
You can download the kanji data with transparent PNG format. Each letter is made in px X px. Available for any purposes and no link or credit is needed. Feel free to take it!
Why don’t you PIN it?
The Sekai Kokeshi
Serpentine creature in Japanese mythology
Japanese dragons (日本の竜, Nihon no ryū) are diverse legendary creatures in Japanese mythology and folklore. Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and the Indian subcontinent. The style of the dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other East Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. The modern Japanese language has numerous "dragon" words, including indigenous Tatsu from Old Japaneseta-tu, Sino-Japaneseryū or ryō竜 from Chineselóng龍, nāga ナーガ from Sanskritnāga, and doragon ドラゴン from English "dragon" (the latter being used almost exclusively to refer to the European dragon and derived fictional creatures).
Indigenous Japanese dragons
The c. AD Kojiki and the c. AD Nihongi mytho-histories have the first Japanese textual references to dragons. "In the oldest annals the dragons are mentioned in various ways," explains de Visser, "but mostly as water-gods, serpent- or dragon-shaped." The Kojiki and Nihongi mention several ancient dragons:
- Yamata no Orochi 八岐大蛇 "8-branched giant snake" was an 8-headed and 8-tailed dragon slain by the god of wind and sea Susanoo, who discovered the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (legendary sword of the Imperial Regalia of Japan) in one of its tails.
- Watatsumi 海神 "sea god" or Ryūjin 龍神 "dragon god" was the ruler of seas and oceans, and described as a dragon capable of changing into human form. He lived in the undersea Ryūgū-jō 龍宮城 "dragon palace castle", where he kept the magical tide jewels.
- Toyotama-hime 豊玉姫 "Luminous Pearl Princess" was Ryūjin's daughter. She purportedly was an ancestress of Emperor Jimmu, Japan's legendary first emperor.
- Wani 鰐 was a sea monster that is translated as both "shark" and "crocodile". Kuma-wani 熊鰐 "bear (i.e., giant or strong) shark/crocodile" are mentioned in two ancient legends. One says the sea god Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami transformed into an "8-fathom kuma-wani" and fathered Toyotama-hime, the other says a kuma-wani piloted the ships of Emperor Chūai and his Empress Jingū.
- Mizuchi 蛟 or 虯 was a river dragon and water deity. The Nihongi records legendary Emperor Nintoku offering human sacrifices to mizuchi angered by his river engineering projects.
- Raiju is Raijin's animal companion and messenger that commonly take form of a dragon.
- Kiyohime 清姫 "Purity Princess" was a teahouse waitress who fell in love with a young Buddhist priest. After he spurned her, she studied magic, transformed into a dragon, and killed him.
- Nure-onna 濡女 "Wet Woman" was a dragon with a woman's head and a snake's body. She was typically seen while washing her hair on a riverbank and would sometimes kill humans when angered.
- Zennyo Ryūō 善如龍王 "goodness-like dragon king" was a rain-god depicted either as a dragon with a snake on its head or as a human with a snake's tail.
- In the fairy tale "My Lord Bag of Rice", the Ryūō "dragon king" of Lake Biwa asks the hero Tawara Tōda 田原藤太 to kill a giant centipede.
- Urashima Tarō rescued a turtle which took him to Ryūgū-jō and turned into the attractive daughter of the ocean god Ryūjin.
Chinese dragon mythology is central to Japanese dragons. Japanese words for "dragon" are written with kanji ("Chinese characters"), either simplified shinjitai 竜 or traditional kyūjitai 龍 from Chinese long 龍. These kanji can be read tatsu in native Japanese kun'yomi and ryū or ryō in Sino-Japanese on'yomi.
Many Japanese dragon names are loanwords from Chinese. For instance, the Japanese counterparts of the astrological Four Symbols are:
Japanese Shiryū 四竜 "4 dragon [kings]" are the legendary Chinese Longwang 龍王 "Dragon Kings" who rule the four seas.
Some authors differentiate Japanese ryū and Chinese long dragons by the number of claws on their feet. "In Japan," writes Gould (), "it is invariably figured as possessing three claws, whereas in China it has four or five, according as it is an ordinary or an Imperial emblem."
During World War II, the Japanese military named many armaments after Chinese dragons. The Kōryū 蛟竜 < jiaolong 蛟龍 "flood dragon" was a midget submarine and the Shinryū 神竜 < shenlong 神龍 "spirit dragon" was a rocket kamikaze aircraft. An Imperial Japanese Army division, the 56th Division, was codenamed the Dragon Division. Coincidentally, the Dragon Division was annihilated in the Chinese town of Longling (龍陵), whose name means "Dragon's Tomb".
When Buddhist monks from other parts of Asia brought their faith to Japan they transmitted dragon and snake legends from Buddhist and Hindu mythology. The most notable examples are the nāga ナーガ or 龍 "Nāga; rain deity; protector of Buddhism" and the nāgarāja ナーガラージャ or 龍王 ”Nāgaraja; snake king; dragon king". de Visser () notes that many Japanese nāga legends have Chinese features. "This is quite clear, for it was via China that all the Indian tales came to Japan. Moreover, many originally Japanese dragons, to which Chinese legends were applied, were afterwards identified with nāga, so that a blending of ideas was the result.
Some additional examples of Buddhistic Japanese dragons are:
- Hachidai ryūō 八大龍王 "8 great naga kings" assembled to hear the Buddha expound on the Lotus Sutra, and are a common artistic motif.
- Mucharinda ムチャリンダ "Mucalinda" was the Nāga king who protected the Buddha when he achieved bodhi, and is frequently represented as a giant cobra.
- Benzaiten 弁才天 is the Japanese name of the goddess Saraswati, who killed a 3-headed Vritra serpent or dragon in the Rigveda. According to the Enoshima Engi, Benzaiten created Enoshima Island in CE in order to thwart a 5-headed dragon that had been harassing people.
- Kuzuryū 九頭龍 "9-headed dragon", deriving from the multi-headed Naga king シェーシャ or 舍沙 "Shesha", is worshipped at Togakushi Shrine in Nagano Prefecture.
Dragon lore is traditionally associated with Buddhist temples. Myths about dragons living in ponds and lakes near temples are widespread. De Visser lists accounts for Shitennō-ji in Osaka, Gogen Temple in Hakone, Kanagawa, and the shrine on Mount Haku where the Genpei Jōsuiki records that a Zen priest saw a 9-headed dragon transform into the goddess Kannon. In the present day, the Lake Saiko Dragon Shrine at Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi has an annual festival and fireworks show.
Temple names, like Japanese toponyms, frequently involve dragons. For instance, the Rinzai sect has Tenryū-ji 天龍寺 "Heavenly Dragon Temple", Ryūtaku-ji 龍沢寺 "Dragon Swamp Temple", Ryōan-ji 竜安寺 "Dragon Peace Temple". According to legend, when the Hōkō-ji 法興寺 or Asuka-dera 飛鳥寺 Buddhist temple was dedicated at Nara in , "a purple cloud descended from the sky and covered the pagoda as well as the Buddha hall; then the cloud became five-coloured and assumed the shape of a dragon or phoenix".
The Kinryū-no-Mai "Golden Dragon Dance" is an annual Japanese dragon dance performed at Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple in Asakusa. The dragon dancers twist and turn within the temple grounds and outside on the streets. According to legend, the Sensō Temple was founded in after two fishermen found a gold statuette of Kannon in the Sumida River, at which time golden dragons purportedly ascended into heaven. The Golden Dragon Dance was produced to celebrate the reconstruction of the Main Hall of the temple in and is performed twice yearly.
Japanese dragons are mostly associated with Shinto shrines as well as some Buddhist temples.
Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima or Itsukushima Island in Japan's Inland Sea was believed to be the abode of the sea-god Ryūjin's daughter. According to the Gukanshō and The Tale of Heike (Heinrich –75), the sea-dragon empowered Emperor Antoku to ascend the throne because his father Taira no Kiyomori offered prayers at Itsukushima and declared it his ancestral shrine. When Antoku drowned himself after being defeated in the Battle of Dan-no-ura, he lost the imperial Kusanagi sword (which legendarily came from the tail of the Yamata no Orochi] dragon) back into the sea. In another version, divers found the sword, and it is said to be preserved at Atsuta Shrine. The great earthquake of was attributed to vengeful Heike spirits, specifically the dragon powers of Antoku.
Ryūjin shinkō 竜神信仰 "dragon god faith" is a form of Shinto religious belief that worships dragons as water kami. It is connected with agricultural rituals, rain prayers, and the success of fisherman.
Dragons in modern Japanese culture
- Aston, William George, tr. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. . 2 vols. Kegan Paul.
- Chamberlain, Basil H., tr. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters.
- Gould, Charles. Mythical Monsters". W. H. Allen & Co.
- Heinrich, Amy Vladeck. Currents in Japanese Culture: Translations and Transformations. Columbia University Press.
- Ingersoll, Ernest. "Chapter Nine: The Dragon in Japanese Art", in Dragons and Dragon Lore, Payson & Clarke. Also: Ingersoll, Ernest, et al., (). The Illustrated Book of Dragons and Dragon Lore. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN B00DPJ0
- Smith, G. Elliot. The Evolution of the Dragon. Longmans, Green & Co.
- de Visser, Marinus Willern (), The Dragon in China and Japan, J. Müller, archived from the original on .
Media related to Tatsu at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Japanese dragons at Wikimedia Commons
Symbol japanese dragon in
He would have been mesmerized by her figure, her desire, and a beautiful, standing member. She pressed her lips to him. She caressed him so that he could see. How many times had he dreamed about it. But she stopped very soon.Japanese kanji How to write dragon 龍
She loosened up the resistance, and her hands somehow by themselves crumpled the Waitress's breasts. She noticed with horror that she was all wet with excitement. Having moved away from the waitress for a second and half turned around, she saw that the older woman had already managed to. Completely undress and was fiddling with a large black dildo, fastening it to her with leather straps.
The woman had a very beautiful, albeit slightly saggy chest.
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