Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Owls In The Japanese Lore

I have already presented the owl objects and their meaning on 22 July. Since it is the most viewed post at the moment, I am uploading more owl photos today. Li-chan, I hope you will enjoy the photos.

This owl is colourless and huge, comparing with everything else I have seen in Japan. Owls tend to be tiny objects otherwise. It is a photo taken in Hokkaido. And there the Fish Owl is an important god for the native Ainu people. You can seach it with the Latin name, Ketupa blakistoni. That god is called kamuy, kotan kor kamuy - "god of the village" - and it is considered as a protector of the villages.

Along with the owl, one maneki-neko in the middle - the lucky/welcoming cat, and the red daruma doll. For extra luck, the three of them appear in one place.

An owl and one tanuki, which is also omnipresent in Japan. Plus a tiny frog at its feet - another symbol of good luck, which I presented on 18 June.

Owls are placed around the home also as a way to get rid of illness and famine.

This is another colourless owl, which I noticed in Tono, Iwate Prefecture - the place of the famous book called "The Legends Of Tono":

Fukurou mentioned in the previous post about owls is applied to owls without "ear" like the Ural Owl.  

Some owls can be divine messengers, while others are viewed as demons - especially Barn or Horned Owls. It can be considered even as a bad omen, also because the young can sometimes kill the mother. Thus, ungreatful offspring are called owls. When it is considered to have the evil eye, it is represented with the eyes closed.


  1. Woooooow すごいいいい!!!! (* 0 *)

    As I've said before I just love owls!!!

    Really liked your post! (^__^)

    Although it was bad to know Barn Owls are viewed as oni. (T _ T)' I love Tyto alba (Barn Owl)... (u . u)'

    I'll be sure to buy a souvenir of owls, when I'll drop by 日本. XD

  2. I am glad you liked the photos, Li-chan. I know you like Tyto alba, it looks so cute, ne?

    Among the owl souvenirs, apart from garden and desk decorations, there are of course even key chains and mobile accessories.

    Have a nice Sunday!