1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
Relationships with Animals: Dogs
Related Resources
Relationships with Animals: Cats
The Year of the Snake
The Year of the Horse
The Year of the Dog

Critical phrases referring to inu (dogs) are as common in Japan as they are in the West. Inujini (thus to die like dog) is to die meaninglessly, and to call someone a dog is to accuse him or her of being a spy or dupe.

In Japan, the dog is believed to have been domesticated as early as the Jomon period (10,000 B.C.). White dogs are thought to be especially auspicious and often appear in folk tales (Hanasaka jiisan etc.). In the Edo period Tokugawa Tsuneyoshi, the fifth shogun and ardent Buddhist, ordered the protection of all animals, especially dogs. His regulations concerning dogs were so extreme that he was ridiculed as the Inu Shogun.

A more recent story is the 1920's tale of the chuken (faithful dog), Hachiko. Hachiko met his master at Shibuya station at the end of every workday. Even after his master died one day at work, Hachiko continued to wait at the station for 10 years. He became a popular symbol of devotion. After his death, Hachiko's body was put in a museum, and there is a bronze statue of him in front of Shibuya station.

"Inu mo arukeba bou ni ataru (When the dog walks, it runs across a stick)" is a saying and it means when you walk outside, you could possibly meet with an unexpected fortune.

Typical Japanese dogs include Akita, Tosa and Shiba breeds. The onomatopoeia for a dog's bark is wan-wan.

Click here to learn the kanji character for "dog (inu)." To learn about expressions including the word the dog, click here.

This Week's Sentence

  • White dogs are thought to be especially auspicious and often appear in folk tales.

Translate it into Japanese. Check out the answer on the bottom of the page.

Previous Features Where Do I Begin

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

Answer

  • Shiroi inu wa tokuni engi ga yoi to omoware, mukashi-banashi ni mo yoku toujou shimasu. 白い犬は特に縁起がよいと思われ、昔話にもよく登場します。

Vocabulary

shiroi
白い
white
inu
dog
tokuni
特に
especially
engi ga yoi
縁起がよい
auspicious
mukashi-banashi
昔話
folk tale
yoku
よく
often
toujou suru
登場する
to appear
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.
See More About

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.