Do you think that this "Dog Shogun" 's laws for the protection of animals utterly stupid or ill-considered ?

Jul 2018
Hong Kong

Although dogs are breeding everywhere nowadays, do you know that "dog boom" already occurred in the 300 years ago's Edo Period in Japan ? At somewhere, there is a huge "dog housing area" as large as twenty times of Tokyo Dome (the famous Japanese stadium that could accomodate 46,000 spectators) constructed, costed 10 billion yen in exchange to the modern currency with 100,000 dogs bred ! It's pretty unimaginable even nowadays ! The noble-bred dogs were extremely popular and traded with high price in the contemporary age. At that time, even the common people were also prevailing to feed the beautiful goldfishes and cats, turning Edo into a rare "animal paradise" in the world history.

It was largely thanked to a series of laws for protection of animals (生類憐れみの令) edicted by the 5th Shogun of the Edo Shogunate, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (徳川綱吉, 1646-1709). Not only dogs, cats, birds, fishes, but even shellfishes, insects and bell crickets were categorized into the list of "animal protection". Not exaggerated, he was truly a forerunner in advocating the concept of "animal protection". was universally accursed "the damn law" that caused the huge disturbance and upheavel, leading to the widespread rage ! People who merely hurt a dog were sufficient to be punished by death ! Even just expelling a stray dog, or killing a mosquito or housefly would result in penalty or imprisonment, and exile or execution at the worst case, samurai was no exceptional. Countless Japanese were outrageous and nicknamed Tokugawa Tsunayoshi the "Dog Shogun" (犬公方) for taunting his ridiculousness of carrying out such unreasonable laws.

The modern researches have overturned Tokugawa Tsunayoshi's image of being a "fatuous monarch" and even applauded him possessing the foresightedness of being a gifted politician. Tsunayoshi's "animal protection policies" were associated with the modern welfare policies by one common feature : concern the "weakling groups" in society. So which version of story reflected the truth ? Go to research yourself and get your own conclusion.


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