Monday, February 02, 2009


Ryu is the Japanese word for dragon (although it does have some other meanings as well).

Interesting fact alert:
It is sometimes noted that the Chinese dragons have five toes on each foot, while Korean dragons have 4, and Japanese dragons have three. To explain this phenomenon, Chinese legend states that all Imperial dragons originated in China, and the further away from China a dragon went the fewer toes it had.

However, historical records show that early Chinese dragons had three toes, but later developed into four toes (such dragons were known as Mang), but the first Ming Emperor decreed that the dragon would be his emblem and that it would have five toes (or claws)\The four-clawed dragon was typically for imperial nobility and certain high ranking officials. The three clawed dragon was used by lower ranks and the general public (widely seen on various Chinese goods in Ming dynasty). The Long, however, was only for select royalty closely associated with the Imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors, while it was a capital offense for anyone - other than the emperor himself - to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed Long dragon motif. Improper use of claw number and/or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender's entire clan. Since most east Asian nations at one point or another were considered Chinese tributaries, they were only allowed four-clawed dragons. The five toes rule was enforced since 1336 AD (Yuan the second year). "(For commoners) It is forbidden to wear any cloth with patterns of Qilin, Male Fenghuang (Chinese phoenix), White rabbit, Lingzhi, Five-Toe Two-Horn Loong, Eight Loongs, Nine Loongs, Long-live, Fortune-longevity character and Golden Yellow etc."

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