modified on 20 March 2016 at 01:46 ••• 4,749 views


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Motif Information
Motif hato 02.jpgOriental Turtle Dove
Romaji Hato
English Dove, pigeon
Kana ハト
Season Autumn
Seasonal Exceptions #
Auspicious #
Motif Type Bird
Audio Coming Soon

Hato refers to both pigeons and doves. There are several native species of hato in Japan including the Japanese Wood Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Common Emerald Dove, Red Collared Dove, White-bellied Green Pigeon, and Whistling Green Pigeon. While sometimes depicted as the familiar white dove, hato often are depicted with the colorful plumage of the last few species.

Two species found only on certain islands, the Bonin Wood Pigeon and the Ryukyu Wood Pigeon, went extinct at the beginning of the 20th century due to deforestation and introduction of non-native predators such as rats and cats. Non-native species that have been introduced since the post war period include Rock Doves and the Eurasian Collared Dove.


Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Text about seasonal use

Motif Connotations & Symbolism

Unlike in the west, where a dove is a messenger of peace, in Japan hato are messengers of Hachiman, the god of war.[1] Doves and pigeons were often used to carry important messages, not only in wartime, but also for merchants who stored their messenger birds at various shrines to avoid detection.

Hato are also used as symbols of "filial piety, as it is said to perch 'three branches lower than its senior.'"[2]

Auspicious Nature

Is motif auspicious? If so - explain. If not - remove header.

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

Any of the following doves or pigeons may be used as basis for plumage coloration as well as the Oriental Turtle Dove pictured above. The motif is best identified by the typical pigeon shape of the head and wings than by coloration.

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

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In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

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  1. Atsuharu Sakai. Japan in a Nutshell, Vol. 1. Yamagata Printing Co. Yokohama. 1949. p. 233.
  2. Ibid.

Image Credits

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Authors & Contributors

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