・Keiko Nakatsuka (Human Science and Environment Doctor, Coexistence Environment Laboratory of Humam and Pet)
“The six Legend of dogs touching the Japanese heartstrings”
In order to build a human society that is in harmony with animals, we need to revise the concepts of man-centered society, one in which man restricted and controlled animal behavior, forcing animals to conform to human society. We need to incorporate new ways of thinking on living in harmony with animals.
In the local legends and the historical facts of Japan that are related to dogs, we see the Japanese way of thinking about these animals. The Japanese are shown to live in harmony with dogs, while respecting them just as they were.
Coincidentally, this year commemorates the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Koyasan. Citing as an example, the story of the white dog and the black dog that contributed to the founding of Koyasan, I will reveal in detail how people lived in harmony with dogs, while respecting their habits. I will do so by showing — 1) how man appreciated dogs for their excellent sense of smell; 2) how useful dogs were as navigators and how gifted they were in engaging in advanced communication with man, as illustrated by the legend of the man who relied on that talent of the dogs to discover the Buddhist altar equipment, called “sanko”.
There are many dog legends in Japan. They reveal the thinking of the Japanese that existed from ancient times, one that respected rather than abused dogs’ habits. That is indeed the wisdom of the Past for considering the coexistence of modern man and dogs. It is most important for us to use these legends for passing their thinking on dogs to the children of the next generation and to tell a way of thinking of Japanese coexistence to the world.