“Year of the Dog”, New Year’s postcard, 1910.

1920sArts & CultureFolklore
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“Year of the Dog”, New Year’s postcard, 1910.

See also:
Akemashite Omedetou, Happy New Year, c. 1910
Dezome-shiki, New Year’s Day, c. 1960
Akasaka Mitsuke, New Year’s Greetings, 1909

“Year of the Dog”, New Year’s postcard, c. 1920.

“We should also count the dogs among the inhabitants, as they are maintained like citizens.

“… The streets are full of these rascals, which move neither for horses nor for people. If they harm people or deserve to die, only the executioner may kill them on command from high authority. Sick dogs, or those incapacitated by age, are maintained by each street in cages or huts. When the dogs die, they are carried up the mountains and buried no less carefully than people. This is done on the superstitious command of the shogun [Tokugawa Tsunayoshi], who was born under the sign of the dog, and consequently esteems them no less than Emperor Augustus did the ibex.

“A certain farmer laboriously carrying his dead dog up the hill complained to his neighbor about the year of birth of the shogun, which was responsible for his pains. The other replied: ‘Oh, my friend, don’t let’s complain. If he were born under the sign of the horse, our load would be much heavier!'”

Kaempfer’s Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed, by Engelbert Kaempfer, 1727 (translated 1999)

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