Dragon 龍

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Kanji: 龍
Hiragana: りゅう
Pronunciation: Ryu
Meaning: Dragon, Chinese/Japanese dragon

龍宮城 (ryugujo, ruuguujou) Dragon King Palace;
Ryugujo is a castle in Japanese legend and folklore where the Dragon King is said to reside on the ocean floor. Ryugujo has often been mentioned in Japanese mythology and folklore.

The dragon’s castle is famous of “Urashima Taro”. In the tale, “Urashima Taro”, the boy save a turtle from mean kids, and the turtle buring him to Ryugujo with thanks. Ryugujo is depicted as being located in the sea, with beautiful palaces, gardens, and treasures.

The dragon palaces are said to be inhabited by dragon kings, or dragon palace lords, who speak human language, are immortal, and have the power to bestow the bounty of the sea in abundance. It is also said that beautiful women live in the Dragon’s Palace.

There are various theories about the entrance and location of the Dragon’s Palace, but it is generally believed to be on the sea floor, in a rocky cave, or in a specific location under the sea.

龍神 (ryujin, ruujin) dragon loads; water gods or sea gods;
Ryujin are worshipped, especially in areas near water, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

In Japanese mythology and folklore, Ryujin deities are associated with the forces of nature and the source of life. They have often been worshipped in connection with people’s safety, good harvests, and protection from disasters. The worship of dragon deities has been an important element in agricultural societies to obtain water and to pray for agricultural abundance and water blessings.

Ryujin are depicted some times as in human form, and the other times as the form of large dragons. They are considered sacred beings and are enshrined in shrines and Shinto and Buddhist temples.

The worship of Ryujin and festivals vary from region to region, with rituals and events such as waterfall openings and lake festivals held to worship dragon deities and pray for the blessings of water. The belief in Ryujin has also influenced Japanese culture and art, and dragon statues and dragon dances have been preserved as traditional performing arts.

白龍 (hakuryu, hakuryuu) white dragons;
White dragons appear in legends and myths from East Asia, including China and Japan, and are worshipped.

White dragons are said to have an elegant and beautiful appearance and are often depicted as having white scales and white body hair. They appear in clouds or mist and have been worshipped as sacred beings.

飛龍 (hiry, hiryuu) flying dragons; dragons with the ability to fly;
Flying dragons appear frequently in East Asian legends and myths, symbolizing strength, courage, and freedom.

Flying dragons are depicted as soaring through the sky and dancing freely in the high skies and clouds. Flying dragons are depicted as beings that ascend to the heavens and dance through the universe with celestial emperors and immortals.

Flying dragons also appear frequently in Japanese legends and paintings. Especially in Japanese Buddhist art, flying dragons are sometimes depicted as symbols of the sacredness of Buddhism and enlightenment. Flying dragons were also important in the culture of the samurai and during Warring States period (of Japanese history, approx. 1467-1568) as an element symbolizing valor and courage.

龍王 (ryu-o, ryuu-oh) dragon king;
Legends of the Dragon King are widespread in East Asian cultures, including China, Japan, and Vietnam. In Chinese legend, the Dragon King controls the four seas, known as the Four Seas Dragon King (四海龍王). The Dragon King also controls wind, rain, and tides. In Japanese legend, the Dragon King is revered as the Lord of the Dragon Palace (龍宮城).

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