Thursday, September 11, 2008

shi-sa

One thing you will see everywhere you go in Okinawa are Shi-sa. The shi-sa is a lion-like figure that is usually found at the entrances of Okinawan homes. The shi-sa comes in pairs. The shi-sa on the right will usually have its mouth open. This symbolizes the male who is protecting the home. The shisa on the left will usually have its mouth closed. This symbolizes the female who "grabs" onto happiness and doesn't let it go.

(the shi-sa in front of Starbucks in Chatan)

I enjoyed looking at all the different kinds of shi-sa. Comical, scary, traditional--they reminded me that we are all different in our own ways.

10 comments:

Phoebe said...

Shisa has a lot of meaning don't they? Just like the festival Setsubun. Everyone throws beans at the demon to ward them off.

There are so many of them! ooo

K and S said...

No, I think they are more of a guardian type than a demon type, Phoebe :)

Take care.
Kat

shar said...

What a beautiful and wonderful tradition. Cool that they are so personlized.You know that mines would be hello kitty Shi-sa. >..<

hmmm ...

thanks for the great pictures they are so inspiring and lovely.

Phoebe said...

oh ahaha sorry I mean that the Japanese holds a lot of meanings to different things, in which I find interesting.

I don't mean that the Setsubun festival and the Shisa are the same or have the same roles.

K and S said...

That would be cool to see a HK shi-sa, Shar :)


Thanks for clearing that up, Phoebe :)

Take care you two.
Kat

Rowena said...

Hmmmmm...my husband may not like the idea of garden gnomes but perhaps male and female shi-sa? ;-) I think they're cute!

OkiHwn said...

Shisa dogs are usually placed in pairs, at the corner of the roof on the front side of a building. Or at gates, and if big enough on the ground at the entrance. One has a closed mouth and one has an open mouth.

There are two schools of thought. One has the closed mouth as the stoic lady of the house with the open mouth one is the man of the house scaring "things" away. The other is the closed mouth is the quiet male with the open mouth being the talkative woman.

K and S said...

great points Nate!

gnomes remind me of those travelocity commercials, Rowena :)

Take care.
Kat

Natashya said...

I love your photos of shi-sa. I didn't know anything about them.
I was born in Kobe but have not been to Japan since I was a baby, it is nice to learn a bit about it from you!

K and S said...

Thanks Natashya!

Take care.
Kat