It is time for us to unveil the themes for this year's houses for Tokonatsu 2019.
Those familiar with both popular Japanese and Chinese history and folklore may very well recognise these famous guardians, and those familiar with Tokonatsu might recognise these from 2016! As part of returning to this theme, we have also made the decision to stay with the theme from year to year, with a slight twist on the names! So why not find out more below.
The Mythical Beasts of Japan
In Japanese folklore there are numerous sacred beasts and spirits. Amongst the most notable of these are the Four Guardian Beasts of Japan, sometimes called the four gods of the cardinal directions. It is these legendary creatures that we have chosen to represent our four houses.
These creatures were originally central figures of Ancient Chinese astrology, and were adopted by the Japanese Onmyōji. They are very important figures and are frequently referenced in Japanese mythology. You will have seen representations of them in popular Anime and Japanese video games. Yu Yu Hakusho and Digimon both have examples of this as well as appearances in the Final Fantasy series, the Shin Megami Tensei and many others.
The Four Guardian Beasts
The Black Turtle, guardian of the North. Despite its English name the black turtle is usually depicted as a turtle entwined together with a snake. It represents the element of water and the season of winter. Genbu is a symbol of purity, long life, versatility and intelligence. Although its traditional colour is black, at Tokonatsu Genbu represents the green house.
The Azure Dragon, guardian of the East. Seiryū represents the element of wood and the season of spring. In some stories Seiryū is considered to be the leader of the guardian beasts. He is a symbol of authority, luxury, unrivalled strength, creativity and ferocity. He represents Tokonatsu's blue house.
Also known as the Vermillion Bird, the guardian of the South. Suzaku bears a lot of similarities to the phoenix of Western mythology. It represents the fire element and the season of summer. It is described as a red bird that resembles a pheasant and it is covered in flames. Suzaku is considered as a symbol of fidelity, will, kindness and nobility. Suzaku is the represents the red house at Tokonatsu.
The White Tiger, guardian of the West. Byakko represents the metal element and the season of autumn. Byakko served as a protector. Tigers were considered the king of all beasts and legend said that when they turned 500 years old their tails would turn white. Byakko is considered a symbol of righteousness and bravery. Byakko represents Tokonatsu's orange house, to better resemble the tiger after which he is named.
You can find out which house you are in by going to the Houses Page
We look forward to seeing which house triumphs along with all of you at Tokonatsu 2019!