Addicted to Shisa


Shisa, Naha Since I came across the first Shisa at a restaurant with Okinawa cuisine, I have to say they stole my heart. I cannot even count anymore how many shisa “couples” I have at home. My passion became so great that now for me a home without shisa seems to me rather cold. On a recent trip to Okinawa last month, I had the opportunity to catch up with many of these beautiful guardians. I had learned in the past that you can recognize a female shisa by the closed mouth, but it seems the distinction is not so clear based on Wikipedia: “Some Okinawans believe the male has his mouth closed to keep bad out of the home, while the female has her mouth open to share goodness. Others believe the female has her mouth closed to “keep in the good”, while the male has his mouth open to “scare away the bad”.” No matter what the gender was, I could not resist taking lots of pictures and I am posting some of it below. Open mouth version:

Shisa, Naha

Closed mouth shisa (in my opinion a female shisa):
Shisa, Naha

All shisa have in coming that they have to look somewhat scary to ward off bad influence:
Shisa, Naha

An example of a shisa sitting on a roof for protecting a home:
Shisa, Naha

Modern, kind of cute shisa:
moderne Shisa, Naha

Rather scary, rough shisa standing up, which is rather unique:
Shisa, Naha

Not all shisa have to be as a full body, portrait versions exists as well:
Shisa, Naha

Rather overgrown, wild shisa:
Shisa, Naha

Looks for me like a shisa version that had too much awamori:
Shisa, Naha

Which is your favorite shisa? For me there is no favorite as I cannot help myself, because I fall in love with all of them.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (伊藤シビル)

5 thoughts on “Addicted to Shisa

  1. Pingback: Shisa – Creatures from Okinawan myth - Japan Travel Blog

  2. I had a little Shisa statue that my friend brought me back as a souvenir from Okinawa. My mother liked it so much she stole it from me!

    • Dear Imjapan,

      I am sorry to hear that you had only one Shisa. Note in order to protect and bring good luck you need actually the Shisa couple. So maybe you are lucky to have the lonely Shisa out of your life.

      Wishing you lots of happiness and only the best,

      Sibylle Ito

      • Hi Sibylle, Oh, sorry, I should have been more clear. There were 2 Shisa on the statue. But it’s ok that they’re out of my life anyways, I don’t think they ever brought me much luck. I used to keep them in a business I owned and all I got was customers telling me how ugly they were lol! Thanks for the kind words, all the best to you as well.

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