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What's the difference between a shisa and a komainu?

Question #139150. Asked by nautilator.
Last updated Jan 31 2015.
Originally posted Jan 31 2015 5:49 PM.

Answer has 3 votes
Currently Best Answer
18 year member
276 replies

Answer has 3 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
A konainu is a statue that guards a holy area like a temple. They resemble lion-dogs. They originated in Japan.


A shisa is a small statue of a lion dog that is used to keep evil spirits away from houses. They originated in Okinawa.


So the difference appears to be country of origin and where they are placed: komainu=holy places, shisa=dwellings.

Jan 31 2015, 6:08 PM
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