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Does Japanese have the concept of a spirit animal

Dehitay

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In the West, a spirit animal is an animal that a person believes serves as a representative of themselves or as a guide. However, I'm not sure if this concept exists in Japanese. If I use a translator, it comes out as 精神動物 which sounds too much like a direct translation of spirit and animal, so I'm not sure if it's the phrase I want. If I try googling it, I keep getting 妖怪 which isn't what I want.

Can anybody tell me if this concept exists in Japanese? and if so, what the Japanese phrase is for it?
 

Dehitay

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Do they have pretty much the same meaning in Japanese as in English? If I wanted to say "My spirit animal is a fox", would it be well understood if I said 霊獣は狐です ?
 

Glenski

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Are you writing a book, or is this homework?

In the West, a spirit animal is an animal that a person believes serves as a representative of themselves or as a guide.
The way this sentence is written, all people in the West have this belief, when clearly only a small population does. Be careful about wording for others to grasp.
 

Dehitay

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If you could tell me where spirit animal means something else, I would be interested. However, this obviously has nothing to do with my question, and is just a means for you to make you feel better about yourself by trying to imply I'm so stupid that I made a mistake you never would have.

Why was the helpful comment removed? Some had posted about 霊獣 and one other phrase I don't remember being possible translations.
 

Toritoribe

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I deleted my post since I realized my misunderstanding. Sorry for confusing.
守護霊 would be the closest idea in Japanese. It refers to "spirit/ghost", not animal, though.
 

mdchachi

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Japan also has the concept of guardian diety (守護神). But this doesn't really fit either.
In other words, there is no direct equivalent.
 
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The term I'd use in English is "totem" or "totem animal." According to some AmerIndian beliefs, your totem is the animal spirit that is your guide or guardian.

My own totem animal would be the wild mink. I've seen mink many times, more than would be ordinary for most outdoorsmen. I've had them come very close and look at me. One time we were camped along a river and a mink came up right beside me and stuck his nose into a pan of salmon I was frying over the fire.
 

Toritoribe

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According to the Japanese Wikipedia article for "totem", a famous folklorist Minakata Kumagusu translated the term as 族霊 (lit. clan's spirit) in Japanese. I've never seen this term anywhere before, though.

トーテム - Wikipedia
(all in Japanese)
 

Glenski

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I'm not trying to make you look stupid. I only pointed out a flaw in your writing.

Could you answer my question?
 

cocoichi

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In the West, a spirit animal is an animal that a person believes serves as a representative of themselves or as a guide. However, I'm not sure if this concept exists in Japanese. I
West from where you are, is Japan :)

There are many ways to answer your question. One would be: yes, Japan has a lot of animals to represent people: 29 Wonderfully Cute And Quirky Japanese Mascots | So Bad So Good

Kumamon for example is a representative of the people of Kumamoto:pompous:
 

Timelyn

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West from where you are, is Japan :)

There are many ways to answer your question. One would be: yes, Japan has a lot of animals to represent people: 29 Wonderfully Cute And Quirky Japanese Mascots | So Bad So Good

Kumamon for example is a representative of the people of Kumamoto:pompous:
West in the world map! At least it's west on the maps I use too.
The mascots that represent people of a certain area are different from spirit animals, they have those too. I'm guessing there's not really such an equivalent :(
 

cocoichi

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West in the world map! At least it's west on the maps I use too.
The mascots that represent people of a certain area are different from spirit animals, they have those too. I'm guessing there's not really such an equivalent :(
"west" is meaningless, and is something coined by Europeans and Northern Americans. I have always hated this term, as it is highly inaccurate, and there is not something about "the west" that has a binding factor for the people that they use it for. Therefore I was slightly provocative.

Topic opener said: a spirit animal is an animal that a person believes serves as a representative of themselves. Therefore my explanation is still valid.
 

Timelyn

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Topic opener said: a spirit animal is an animal that a person believes serves as a representative of themselves. Therefore my explanation is still valid.
A spirit animal is usually an individual concept. Each person has its animal for its own reasons.
 
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