After dozens of cities visited, I never saw a stray dog in Japan… But it wasn’t always like this: during the time of shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, stray dogs were roaming freely in Edo and their numbers reached an all-time high after 1690, when the shogun issued a series of laws known as the Edicts on Compassion for Living Things.
These strange laws were conceived especially to protect the dogs, establishing harsh punishments for those caught hurting animals and deportation or even death penalty if the animal was killed. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi believed that because he was born in the Year of the Dog, he was responsible to protect the dogs… and, of course, the result was that Edo became filthy and dangerous, while the shogun became known as Inu-Kubō, the “Dog Shogun"…
This strange piece of Japanese history came into my mind while looking at this funny group of statues, displayed in front of the Issen Yoshoku Restaurant from Gion, Kyoto…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: