A-Yokai-A-Day: Genbu

Today we’ll take a look at another of the Chinese astrological gods.

Genbu

We’ve already seen Byakko and Seiryuu, the White Tiger of the West and the Azure Dragon of the East. Genbu here is the Black Tortoise of the North. Although technically he is both a tortoise and a snake (or sometimes he is a tortoise with a snake for a tail)…

In ancient China, the snake and the tortoise both symbolized long life. The four constellations were brought over to Japan a long, long time ago and so they have retained a lot of their original meaning, while also developing a unique Japanese identity. Because of that influence, the tortoise is often used as a symbol of honor and long life here in Japan, and paintings of elderly couples often include a tortoise in the picture.

Mostly I like Genbu because he reminds me of Morla from the NeverEnding Story.

Genbu
Genbu

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