Shachi is life.
Tiger-carp hybrids, Killer whales and Dragon-headed fish have all been used to describe Shachihoko. Whatever the origins of the mythical fish-tailed beast, they have been used to adorn roofs of Japanese castles, turrets and gates for centuries. Certainly they contribute to the overall beauty of these buildings but primarily they were symbols of good luck to ward off the threat of fire. Given their abysmal track record at Kanazawa & Edo castles (to name just two), their credibility seems flaky at best.
In almost every case, pairs of Shachi (one male & one female) sit on the ridges of roofs at opposing corners, forever facing off like immovable & disgruntled contortionists. It is said that the Shachi with the opened mouth is the male. Perhaps their expressions would soften if the male Shachi just kept its mouth shut.
Shachi of note
- Nagoya Castle – Giant gold-plated, copper Shachi.
- Matsue Castle – Japan’s biggest at 2.08 meters tall. The original Shachi are now housed inside the tower.
- Maruoka Castle – Carved from stone. The original Shachi now sit at the base of the tower.
- Saga Castle – The “Shachi” Gate are adorned with truly beautiful Shachi.
- Shibata Castle – Three Shachi sit atop the Sangai Turret. (blatant oneupmanship).