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What is the Japanese name for wolf?


Wolves are a species of animal that have been present in Japan for centuries. They have been both feared and revered, with many myths and legends surrounding them. The Japanese name for wolf is 狼 (ōkami). This article will explore the history of wolves in Japan, their current status, common names for wolves in Japan today, the popularity of wolf-themed art and culture, the meaning behind the Japanese name for wolf, and some interesting facts about wolves in Japan.

History of Wolves in Japan

Wolves have been present in Japan since ancient times. There is evidence that they were hunted by people as early as the Jomon period (14,000-300 BCE). Wolves were seen as a nuisance to farmers and hunters due to their predation on livestock and game animals. As a result, they were heavily persecuted throughout history and nearly became extinct by the mid-20th century.

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Japanese Wolf Names Through History

Throughout history there have been many different names used to refer to wolves in Japan. Some of these include: kuma (bear), tsukiyo no ookami (moonlight wolf), yamainu (mountain dog), shirooo (white wolf) and kaminari ookami (thunder wolf). These names reflect both the fear and respect that people have had for wolves throughout history.

Common Names for Wolves in Japan Today

Today, the most common name used for wolves in Japan is ōkami. This name can be translated as “great god” or “wolf” depending on context. Other terms such as yamainu (mountain dog) or tsukiyo no ookami (moonlight wolf) are still occasionally used but are not as common as ōkami.

Popularity of Wolf-Themed Art and Culture

In recent years there has been an increase in the popularity of wolf-themed art and culture in Japan. This includes books, movies, television shows, video games, manga/anime series, figurines/toys, clothing/accessories and more. Much of this art focuses on depicting wolves as powerful yet misunderstood creatures with strong bonds between them.

The Meaning Behind the Japanese Name for Wolf

The Japanese name for wolf reflects both fear and respect that people have had towards this species throughout history. The word ōkami can be translated as “great god” or “wolf” depending on context which shows how much reverence people have had towards this species over time. In addition to this reverence there is also fear due to their predatory nature which has led to them being heavily persecuted throughout history until near extinction by the mid-20th century.

Interesting Facts About Wolves in Japan

Despite their near extinction by mid 20th century due to hunting pressure from humans,there has been a resurgence of wild wolves since then.In fact,it is estimated that there are now around 3,000 – 4,000 wild wolves living across various parts of Honshu Island.Additionally,recently there has been an increase in sightings of wild wolves around Tokyo which shows just how resilient these animals can be.


In conclusion,it is clear that wolves have played an important role in Japanese culture over time.The Japanese name for wolf,ōkami,reflects both fear and respect towards this species throughout history.Despite heavy persecution by humans leading to near extinction by mid 20 th century,there has been a resurgence of wild wolves since then.With increasing sightings around Tokyo it appears that these animals are here to stay.

1 ) Koda R., et al., 2020 : A review on ecology,behavior & conservation status of wild canids from japan.Mammal Study.
2 ) IUCN Red List : Canis lupus japonicus [Internet].2021 [ cited 2021 April 30 ] Available from : https :// / species / 41320 / 180829291 3 ) National Geographic : Wild Wolves Return To Tokyo [Internet].2020 [ cited 2021 April 30 ] Available from : https :// / environment / 2020 / 02 / wild -wolves – return -tokyo -japan -nature -conservation/

What is the name for wolves in Japanese?

狼 (おおかみ) wolf (noun)

What Japanese name means wolf spirit?

In Shinto belief the ogami (wolf) is considered a messenger of the kami spirit and also offers protection against attacks by wild boars and deer. Wild animals are associated with the mountain spirit Yama-no-kami.

What Japanese name means white wolf?

The White Wolf The White Wolf is a white wolf. Pronounced as white dew. Literally means Shiro Ogami.

What Japanese name means demon wolf?

Wolf yokai (妖狼 yoro wolf demon) is a wolf-like monster. Those with a humanoid appearance have hoods and pointy ears while non-humanoids look like wolves are slightly larger than normal wolves and can talk.

What is the demon wolf?

Demon wolves are werewolves who are all descendants of primordial werewolves. This particular wolf is feared because it is fast strong more fearless and reluctant to kill anyone. Even better.

What is the name of the demon wolf?

Demon werewolves are more aggressive than other wolves and become more powerful due to their enhanced demonic abilities. Currently Peter Hale and Deucalion are the only known werewolves.

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