Life with Japanese Dogs *RERUN
In Japan, there are 6 breeds of dogs that are protected species. These are the Hokkaido Dog, the Akita Dog, the Kai Dog, the Kishu Dog, the Shikoku Dog and the Shiba Dog. Bones of dogs unearthed from 3,000-year-old ruins have been found with proof of a proper burial. It seems even back then, dogs were already part of the lives of humans, like today. Many belief systems towards dog unique to the locality remain in various parts of Japan. In this episode, we visit the origins and locales associated with these dogs, and look at the bond between the Japanese and dogs.

The "Faithful Dog" Project

The Shiba Dog is the most popular dog in Japan out of the 6 breeds. In Nagiso, Nagano Prefecture, Shiba Dogs trained as "faithful dogs," chase away monkeys and other wildlife.

The Inukko Festival of Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture

The Inukko Festival is a traditional festival of the Yuzawa region, which is said to have started about 400 years ago. The origin of this festival is said to be when a feudal lord got rid of a major thief, and to prevent such scoundrels from appearing again, he had people make small dogs with rice flour, place them at entrances of their houses and windows and prayed for safety on the evening of the old Lantern Festival (January 15 of the lunar calendar).

The Kai Dog

The Kai Dog is a breed of dog native to Yamanashi Prefecture, and was used to hunt antelope or wild boar in the mountainous regions of the Japanese Southern Alps. The Kai Dog is characterized by its well-developed hock joint, which allows for excellent sprinting ability and jumping power.