Akita Places of Origin - Tanaka


A Manual of The Japanese Dog  pp. 19-29, 1953
The Places of Origin And The Present Distribution of Japanese Dogs by Kikuo Tanaka
(Translated by Tatsuo Kimura)


      The future of our Japanese dogs with their national characteristics was very doubtful  immediately after the WWII.  This was due to the loss of these dogs during the intensity of the war.  Fortunately, the Nipponken Hozonkai was re-established after the war with the efforts of Japanese Akita dog fans, who, using a source of very few valuable dogs, succeeded in establishing the Japanese dog in the world of today.  We would like to take advantage of this opportunity and not spare any efforts with our fellow members and tread the eternally great road of preserving the Japanese dogs.


      I would like to discuss the distribution of the Japanese dogs in various regions.  According to the Nippoken Hozonkai Standard, the Japanese dogs are divided into three types: large (Akita dog), medium (Hokkaido dog, Iwate dog, Kishu dog, Kai dog, Easu dog and Tosa dog) and the small (what is called the Shiba dog, Shinshu-Shiba, Miuo Shiba, Kai-Shiba Jugoku dog and the Shimane-Tottori dog called Sekishu dog) groups and are being bred under planned programs.





      Hokkaido, which is our nation's northernmost local district, is the place of origin of the Hokkaido dog.  The Hokkaido dog is being protected by the Nipponken Kennel Club as well as by one or two other preservation organizations.  The Hokkaido government office has also become very supportive in their policy by their designation of excellent Hokkaido dogs as natural monuments. Regular branches were also revived at the beginning of 1953 in order to engage actively for the sake of the Hokkaido dog.  Also in Hokkaido, they are involved in important roles as work dogs in deep snow.

2.   The Tohoku Area 

      In this region, one must above all mention that this is the place of origin of the large type dog (the Akita dog) form the prefecture of Akita.  The Akita dog is generally well known widely among the Japanese dog fans in relation to the famous, faithful dog, Hachiko, and was produced in Akita and has played an important role as a sideline to each farming households especially in one area in Kazuno in northern Akita. Beginning with the regular branches throughout the prefecture, dog organizations, such as the Akitainu Hozon Kai, have taken the opportunity of improving the quality of the dog. With this place of origin as the center, many regular branches are being established in prefectures such as Aomori, Iwate, Yamagatu, Fukushima, as well as in other prefectures throughout the nation.  In Iwate, although few in numbers, there are some medium type dogs that the local people call Iwate-no-inu.


3.   Kanto Area

      There are no native dogs in this area but each type of dog is being raised.  In the Tokyo area, the large type dogs are very popular and one feels as if this is the second Akita prefecture.  Also, the quality of dogs has improved year by year so that one is able to see some excellent animals at the annual dog shows.


4.   Chubu (Central Plain) Area

      The medium type dog, the Etsu-no-inu, existed many years ago in the Toyama, Ishikawa and Niigata prefectural areas, but are now totally extinct.  In the Niigata area the large type dogs are very popular, while the medium type dogs such as the Kishu and Tosa (Shikoku) dogs are popular in one area of the Hokuriku districts in the Toyama and Ishikwa prefectures. The Nagano prefecture, which has been blessed with dogs, is the place of origin of the so-call (Shinshu-shiba) of the small type dog.  Also, the medium type dogs have also become popular more recently. Also the small type dogs such as the (Mino-shiba) and the (Kai-shiba) originated in both prefectures of Gifu and Yamanashi.  The medium type dog (Kishu dog) has become popular in Gifu very recently.  The medium type dog has also originated in Yamanashi and the locals have called these the Kai dog. Kai is a dog with a unique brindle coat and the excellent dogs of this type are being designated as natural monuments.  Aside from the regular branches within the prefecture, there are the Kai-inu Hozonka's and Yamouashi-inu Hozonkai and each are active in the preservation and production of these dogs. In the Shizuoka and Aichi prefectures, the large type dogs are in the majority and are active as the center for breeding in the Tokai district.


5.   Kinki (Osaka-Kyoto) Area

      Both prefectures of Wakayama and Mie occupy a very important position as the place of origin of the medium type dog (Kishu dog).  In this area the hunters use these as hunting dogs as well as a very important working dog.


      In the Kyoto, Osaka and Nara regions the medium type (Kishu) dogs are numerous, while the large type is popular in the Hyogo prefecture.


6.   Chugoku (Western Honshu) and Shikoken Area

      The prefectures of Kiayama and Hiroshima are both area for the propagation of the medium type dog (Tosa-no-inu) while the prefecture of Kochi (is the place of origin of the Tosa-no-inu) and a very active locality of the medium type line.  The prefectures of Kochi, Ehime, Kagawa and Tokushima are the leading places of the medium type dog (Tosa dog).

7.   Kyushu Area

      Finally, in the Kyushu area are the large and medium type dogs centrally located in the Fukuoka and Kumanoto prefectures and is very popular and there is much eager anticipation for some results in the future.


      The places of origin of Japanese dogs and their previous status of their distribution throughout the nation have been described.  An illustrated diagram presented below summarizes the foregoing distribution that was discussed.  There are call names depending on the locality of origin of dogs (such as the medium type Kishu dogs have the Hidaka line, the Kumono line, etc.) which are commonly referred to in their respective localities.  However, because this may cause much complication with the diagrammatic illustrations, they have been omitted.  Finally, the term Tosa dog refers to the medium type dog that originated in the Shikoku area and differs from the Tosa fighting dog.
(The author is the secretary general of the Nipponken Hozonkai)


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