Zany Roof Guardians on Taketomi Island, in the Far South of Japan
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Roof on Taketomi Island replete with twin rabies-crazed guard devil dogs Taketomi Island, Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/640 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof on Taketomi Island
replete with twin rabies-crazed guard devil dogs
Taketomi Island, Okinawa, Japan

Last spring we made a short trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, just this side of Taiwan. I posted about the trip there and the amazing first sunset and first dinner, some zero light night photography. And more. And that was just from the first day of the trip.

The second day generated nine posts, including some beautiful vistas, a secluded beach, some dynamic weather at a lighthouse, a sunset dip in the pool, a lively “flame & rain” dinner, and a retrospective through Anthony's eyes.

I barely started posting about the third day, having only shown our boat ride to nearby small Taketomi Island and some pretty coral- & flower-lined roads there.

Anyway.... it's been ages since I posted from that trip, so now that you're caught up, I plan to continue, starting today with this recap and the picture above.

Taketomi Island is a small island a few miles off Ishigaki Island, part of the long string of islands known collectively as Okinawa, but 400km south-west of the Okinawan mainland. Taketomi and Ishigaki are culturally quite distinct from “Okinawa” (the Okinawan mainland), but their traditional roofs are similar. They feature heavily-cemented tiles — better to stay put during a typhoon — and are usually adorned with a pair of statues of some kind of guardian lion or dog or whatnot. (The guardian animal doesn't change... I'm just not sure what it is.)

On Okinawa the guardians were imposing, commanding, somewhat fierce and sinister, and, like many things on Okinawa proper, with a strong Chinese cultural influence. Here in Taketomi, though, the guardians tended to be comical, with big bulging eyes.

At least I think they're supposed to be comical. I certainly found them so. I enjoyed them much more than their Okinawan counterparts. Look at the full-size pic above for the full zaniness.

One comment so far...

Was catching up on your photos – great work, by the way! Noticed the roof on Taketomi island with the 2 guardian dog statues. Those have to be Shiba Inu – except for the actual faces, that is. The basic build and the ears and tail are right. And if you’ve ever been face to face with one of them in “fierce” mode, the faces aren’t that far off either… Good catch!

— comment by Lance Hankins on December 30th, 2009 at 1:24am JST (14 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...

All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

IMPORTANT:I'm mostly retired, so I don't check comments often anymore, sorry.

You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting