The First of the Dog-Men and Japanese Dog-Wolves
This chapter discusses the history of humans and canids in Asia. The history of Western civilization reveals a long-standing tradition of demonizing or dehumanizing other peoples, especially peoples considered as potential rivals for territory or resources. In contemporary culture, this attitude manifests itself in the entertainment industry's obsession with “werewolves”: the hybrid nature of such creatures can be seen as an example of one of the most consistent bugbears of “civilized” nations and societies—dog-men or cynocephali. Such beliefs are based upon practices among tribes in central Asia: the men hunted with wolves or large “wolflike” dogs and at times wore masks or capes of dog skin when fighting. In Japan until the late nineteenth century, humans enjoyed a basically cooperative and benign relationship with local wolves. The identities involved are not clear because traditional Japanese describe “wolves” as benign, whereas they are more cautious about what they call “mountain-dogs.”
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