KOMA-INU 狛犬 and KARA-SHISHI
This mythical beast was probably introduced to Japan from China via Korean in the 7th or 8th century AD, during the same period as Buddhism's transmission to Japan, for the Japanese shishi combines elements of both the Korean "Koma-inu" (Korean dog) and Chinese "Kara-shishi" (Chinese lion). One prominent theory holds that the shishi derives from the Chinese Foo Dog. Lions, by the way, are not indigineous to Japan, China or Korea, and supposedly entered those nations in the form of imported art and sculpture, with the earliest traces of the animal appearing in China's Han Dynasty (about 208 BC to 221 AD).
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