If Japan’s anatomy is not dragonish enough to convince you, the human sites and history of the nation may give further evidence.

For example, the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto are located at the heart level, while the modern capital, Tokyo, is at the bottom of the belly. The movement of the imperial court that took place during the Meiji period of the late nineteenth century, from the heart to the belly, reflects the shift that took place in Japanese society, from spiritual to material concerns.

The Kamakura period of the twelfth century, so-called because the national government was established on that peninsula, had the characteristics of the reproductive organ of the dragon (there is even a string of islands in the form of droplets coming out of it). The Kamakura period saw the birth of the autochthonous founders of the major Japanese Buddhist schools (Honen founded the Pure Land School, Shinran the New Pure Land, Eisai the Rinzai Zen, Dogen the Soto Zen, and Nichiren the one that bears his name). The tension experienced during that period between violence and peace, between wars and spiritual pursuits, made it one of the most seminal in the history of Japan.

The belligerent colonialism in which the country embarked in the first half of last century, and whose “karmic feed-back” was the terrible atomic explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had similarities with the Kamakura period. In both cases, like a phoenix, from the horrors of war was reborn a new nation committed to peace. Interestingly, Nagasaki is just over the eyes of the dragon, and Hiroshima on its throat. The violent proclamations of a nation “blinded” by greed and colonialism ended up in a dramatic “scream” of never again!

I still did not reveal what is Shikoku island, but you can guess it here: The Pearl of the Dragon.