Shisa (Okinawan Lion Dogs)
Shisa can be seen in Okinawa where they are believed to ward off evil.
They have a powerful appearance, but simultaneously there is something cute and humorous about them.
They are tremendously attractive and almost everybody who visits Okinawa wants a pair as a souvenir.
The komainu guardian dog statues that can be seen at the entrances to Japanese shrines are identical to the shisa of the southern islands, and I am sure that there must be many people who wonder if they are connected.
Ultimately, both share the same origins, and can be traced back to ancient oriental culture.
In ancient Egypt or India, the symbol of strength and authority was the lion.
People were fascinated by its power and created stone statues of lions.
The Egyptian Sphinx and Singaporean Merlion share the same origins.
This image was passed along the Silk Road, through southern China, and eventually arrived in Okinawa to become the shisa.
The same images, traveling by a different route, through China and Korea, appeared in mainland Japan where they became komainu.
There are probably a large number of other things that sprang from the same roots in this way.