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Ha-inu

The ha-inu (はいぬ, “winged dog”) is just that: a dog with great, wide wings. It is also sometimes called the ao-inu, or “blue dog”, for its brilliant azure fur. It is said that the ha-inu is the reincarnated spirit of a dog owned by the great samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Once, when Hideyoshi and his family were asleep, a band of robbers tried to break into his house. But, luckily, his dog was standing watch. Hideyoshi’s dog faced down the robbers and scared them off, who never returned to that place again. The samurai was so proud of his loyal pet that when it died, he created a memorial to it, in the form of a stone statue of a winged dog. Nowadays, the Japanese say, if you are alone and become waylaid by robbers or other bandits, all you have to do is call on ha-inu. The dog spirit will come on rapid wings and bark three times. At the final bark, a great wind would be summoned and knock down the bandits. This gives you enough time to run away to safety.