Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Japanese Beloved Dog: Shiba

Brave, cleaver, faithful. Shiba is a familiar dog seen everywhere in Japan. It is easy to have as a pet because of these characteristics, and its lovely figure.

It is said the relationship between Shiba and people tracked back to Yayoi or Jomon period, which is considered around 10,000 B.C. Shiba accompanied them to help have a hunt.

The general meaning of Shiba is brushwood as Japanese call brushwood Shiba. The name of it originated from 2 theories. First, its hair resembles dead brushwood. Second, Shiba means small in old Japanese.

In 1936, Shiba also became a special, precious dog as one of the seven Japanese dogs designated for protected species. Shiba is the smallest, but its number is the largest, best representative of Japanese dogs. Of survived current six species of them, Shiba has a large portion of about 80 %.

Recently, Shiba catches the attention. The picture story “Shiba wanko wano kokoro, which means in English Shiba who has a Japanese mind,  has been serialized in a monthly magazine MOE, hakusensha, since 2000 (http://www.hakusensha.co.jp/moe/book/com/shibawanko/).

The author Yoshie Kawabata has Shiba tell Japanese traditional ways of life politely. The idea of Shiba teaching manners to human is quite unique, and impressing along with its cuteness and tender touch.

As Japanese anime and manga are praised as Japan cool, Shiba is getting popular in The United States, where, in fact, Shiba was already designated in 1993 by American Kennel Club. Unlike Japan, Americans likely regard Shiba as a dog like a cat.

The reason Shiba crossed the sea is that it was thought to be introduced to the U.S. by way of a family of American soldiers stationed in Japan. 

On recent advertisement of a pet shop, the price of a shiba is from 48.000 yen, which is cheaper, while the most expensive is a bulldog at from 298,000 yen. In this meaning, too, Shiba is a good buy for anyone.


Sekai dai hyatsuka jiten, Shimonaka Naoto hen, heibonshya, 2006

Shiba wankono sekai, http://www.hakusensha.co.jp/moe/book/com/shibawanko/

America Shiba Inu jijyo,

One Wave,http://www.onewave.jp/dogs/dog/8.html

Wikipedia, Shiba, http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/柴犬

Wekipedia, Shiba wankono wano kokoro, http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/しばわんこの和のこころ

Kaigaino Shiba Inu, http://homepage3.nifty.com/shibainu-atsumi/page017.html

Pro one dog, http://www.pro-one.jp/proone/mame/vol05.html

Picture image: Courtesy for Flickr, not relevant to the story