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Japanese Dragon Paintings

Japanese Dragon paintings are among those things that at first puzzle you and then fascinate you. A new horizon opens up.


"Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and India. The style of the dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other 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. "

Of course you know that Japanese dragons have three claws while Chinese dragons have four or five claws, uh?

So, here below are all, right!, JAPANESE dragons.

Japanese dragon paintings
歌川国芳 (Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1798 - 1861), Tamatori being pursued by a dragon



apanese dragon paintingsshika Hokusai (1760–1849). Lived in Edo, Japan
Well this dragon doesn't look like it's a scary dragon, quite the contrary...Well, I learned that Eastern dragons are the opposite of Western dragon: they are benevolent creatures, that is!
By the way, Hokusai is the author of the famous "wave", see below

JApanese painting, Okusa's wave

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai's most famous print, the first in the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji (wiki)



japanese dragon paintings

Kunisada II Utagawa, The Dragon, c. 1860. Buddha riding on the back of a sea-dragon. From Modern Illustrations of Buddhist Precepts (Hasso-ki Imayo Utsushi-e).

I am not an expert in Japanese mythology, so here is what I found:


by Micha F. Lindemans

"Luminous Being". The Japanese dragon god of the sea. Ryujin lives in Ryugu his palace at the bottom of the sea. His daughter Otohime (Toyo-Tame) married prince Hoori. The sea-king is depicted with a large mouth. Turtles are regarded as his messengers.

Ryujin controls the tidal flows with the magical Tide Jewels. Many centuries ago the Empress Jingo planned an invasion of Korea. She prayed to Ryujin and sent the beach-god Isora to his temple. There he was given the Tide Jewels for the empress. The Japanese fleet then set sail towards Korea and the Korean fleet sailed out to confront them. When she saw the approaching fleet, Jingo quickly threw the Low Tide Jewel into the sea so that the tide receded at once and the Korean fleet was beached. The Koreans all jumped out onto the mudflats but at that moment the empress threw the High Tide Jewel and a tidal wave drowned the men. The tidal wave carried the Japanese fleet on to the coast, into the harbor and to victory. Later Ryujin personally presented the Tide Jewels, on a beautiful pink shell, to Prince Ojin, Empress Jingo's son.


"Ryujin." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
[Accessed October 12, 2010].

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