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Tattoo Center. Shoulder Japanese Dragon Tattoos. Dragons play a central role throughout Japan. In Japanese they are called Ryu or Tatsu. They are large serpent like beasts that are covered with scales. They typically live near large bodies of water and throughout history have come to be respected as a powerful creature. It is such a powerful creature that it is believed the first emprorer of Japan was decended from a dragon and therefore directly from a power god.
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Sculptures of dragons can be seen today throughout Japan typically in alters, temples and other places of woreship. One of the most famous of these temples is at Miyajima also known as The Isle Of The Temple. This has become a famous spot for pilgrims, travelers and toursits to come and pray to the dragons for good luck and good fortune. Dragons are also revered at the Sonsoji Temple in Asakusa Japan.
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Each srping the dragon is taken and paraded around the grounds of the Sensoji temple. During this festival thousands of people come from all over Japan to drop coins into a wooden box as a donation and gift to the temple and an offering to the dragon in hopes that the dragon will give them good luck. This festival is done each spring to commemorate the finding of the gold Kannon, an image of the goddess of mercy. It is believed that in 628 AD two brothers were fishing int he Sumida river at the time they discovered this beautiful statue of the Goddess of Mercy Kanon.
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At the time they discovered this legend states that gold dragons flew up out of the river and in to the sky to celebrate the discovery. In the Buddhist and even many Taoist traditions the dragon is seen as a mythical beast that represents the hardships that people will have to face and eventually overcome before enlightenment can be obtained.
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Dragons are also featured throughout Japanese literary works. One of the first apperances of a dragon like beast is the beast named Yamata-No-Orochi. Yamata No Orochi is a eight headed serpent like beast that devours young women. In the story a man named Susanoo tricks the beast and gets him drunk on Sake and then is able to slay him. In later litrary works dragons are seen as much more benging creatures.