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Motif Information
Motif inoshishi 01.jpg
Rōmaji Inoshishi
English Japanese boar
Kanji 亥, 猪
Kana イノシシ
Season Autumn
Seasonal Exceptions New Year
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Animal

Inoshishi, Japanese boar (Sus scrofa leucomystax), are native to all the islands of Japan except Hokkaido and the Ryukyu Islands.[1] Inoshishi are omnivores and frequently forage in rice paddies. Their typical foraging behavior of digging up roots with its tusks makes it quite destructive to crops.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Inoshishi with hagi on hanafuda

Inoshishi are associated with the autumn.

Motif Connotations & Symbolism

Japanese boar are dangerous to hunt and considered courageous to the point of recklessness. Despite the Buddhist ban on meat-eating, inoshishi was an important part of the Japanese diet and was euphemistically called yama-kujira (literally, mountain whale).

Inoshishi are also associated with fertility due to their large litter size.

Auspicious Nature

Inoshishi are the twelfth of the zodiac animals and replace the pig in the Chinese zodiac.

Several Buddhist deities may be pictured riding inoshishi, among them Bishamonten, Daikokuten, and Marishiten. [2]

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

Describe how the pattern can be identified. If applicable, explain how the pattern is conventionally simplified.

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

Wild Boar amidst Autumn Flowers and Grasses on a hanging scroll by Mori Sosen from the collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Where possible - try to find examples of motif in literature, art and real life. If you are unable to find an example - remove this section.

In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

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  1. Wikipedia article on Japanese boar. Accessed September 18, 2016.
  2. Baird, Merrily. Symbols of Japan: Thematic Motifs in Art and Design. Rizzoli. 2001. p.125.

Image Credits

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Authors & Contributors

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