As the wolf: (okuri-ôkami (送り狼) scuttles through the enchanted forest, villagers rain arrows down upon him, misunderstood & hunted…
In Japanese mythology, the appearance of the raven : (Yatagarasu 八咫烏) is construed as evidence of the will of Heaven or divine intervention in human affairs. It is generally accepted that Yatagarasu is an incarnation of Taketsunimi no mikoto. Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as “the cult of the sun”
A hannya (般若) was tormenting anyone who tried to pass through the Rashomon gate in Kyoto. Watanabe, wanting to put an end to this, stationed himself by the gate to kill the demon. As he waited, a beautiful young woman approached him and persuaded him to escort her home. Samurai are honorable protectors of women, so Watanabe agreed. As he walked ahead of her, he happened to glance back over his shoulder, in time to see his charge transform into the hannya. Drawing his sword, he attacked the demon and severed its arm. The creature vanished and Watanabe, for reasons that only make sense in a legend, wrapped the arm and took it home with him. He locked it into a chest and forgot about it (because if I locked an arm into a chest, I would forget about it, too). Years later, after the event became just a story, the hannya disguised herself as Watanabe’s aunt and went to visit him. She persuaded him to show her the arm. When he did, she dropped her disguise, grabbed her arm, and fled
One particular legend is the koi fish’s (nishikigoi 錦鯉)claim to fame. An ancient tale tells of a huge school of golden koi swimming upstream the Yellow River in China. Gaining strength by fighting against the current, the school glimmered as they swam together through the river. When they reached a waterfall at the end of the river, many of the koi turned back, letting the flow of the river carry them away. The remaining koi refused to give up. Leaping from the depths of the river, they attempted to reach the top of the waterfall to no avail. Their efforts caught the attention of local demons, who mocked their efforts and heightened the waterfall out of malice. After a hundred years of jumping, one koi finally reached the top of the waterfall. The gods recognized the koi for its perseverance and determination and turned it into a golden dragon, the image of power and strength.
This blossom is often portrayed as a symbol of perfection. The Japanese regard the chrysanthemum: (kikumon 菊紋) as their ‘solar flower’- the Japanese Imperial Family adopting it as their emblem and the Seal of the Emperor himself. The Emperor’s position is referred to as The Chrysanthemum Throne. The flower is depicted with petals radiating like flames from the sun, the centre of which symbolizes the Emperor’s status in the scheme of things. Longevity and joy are the attributes of both flower and worthy ruler. In Japan, the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest Order of Chivalry. Japan also has a National Chrysanthemum Day, which is called the Festival of Happiness.
The fox (kitsune 狐きつね) plays a role in Japanese culture that’s unusually rich and complicated. Beliefs that developed when people lived much closer to nature persist in stories, festivals, and language. Even in these rational times, the fox has a magical aura that still lingers. Foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.