The Japanese Unicorn Kirin – The Most Powerful Mythical Creature in Japan

japanese unicorn kirin

Today, we’re going to talk about one of the rarest unicorn species in the World. This unicorn lives in Japan and it’s called kirin.

The Japanese unicorn kirin is similar to the Chinese unicorn Chinese unicorn qilin. The name kirin is also a Japanized version of the Chinese name qilin.

Let’s have a look at this fascinating mythical creature.

We’re going to talk about the differences and similarities between the qilin and kirin. I’m also going to list some TV shows and games in which kirin is seen.

By the way, there’s even a Japanese beer named after the Japanese unicorn!

To finish today’s post, I’m going to make a personal revelation related to kirin.

The Japanese Unicorn Kirin – A Shy Creature of the Paradise

The Japanese unicorn kirin is a shy and solitary creature. It can live up to a thousand years. Normally, kirins avoid any kind of confrontations.

The male kirin is called a ki and the female kirin is called a lin. Kirins are said to live in the paradise, but when they appear on Earth, they probably choose peaceful forests.

Kirin Is a Pure and Benevolent Creature, But It Doesn’t Tolerate Evil.

Like the Chinese unicorn qilin, the Japanese unicorn kirin is known as a benevolent creature that brings good luck. Kirins are known as omens of a wise leader.

Kirin is a pure and holy animal, and it follows the Buddhist virtues. Kirins never eat flesh or harm other living creatures. They even avoid walking on grass, so that they wouldn’t harm even the smallest creatures. They prefer walking on clouds and water instead.

Kirin is able to tell the good from the evil, and the innocent from the guilty. While kirin is a gentle creature, it does not tolerate any lies or evil. Kirin cannot be tricked, and when it detects the guilty person, it pierces through the evildoer’s heart.

top 3 mythical creatures in china and japan

The Most Powerful Mythical Creature in Japan Is Extremely Rare.

In China, qilin is the third most powerful mythical creature after the dragon and the phoenix. In Japan, kirin is considered the most powerful of all mythical creatures.

It is extremely rare to see a kirin. They only appear during times of World peace or before the birth of a benevolent ruler.

Kirin statues can be found in many Japanese temples and shrines.

A One-Horned Deer

The Chinese unicorn qilin is a rather dragon-like creature, but the Japanese unicorn kirin is depicted more like a one-horned japanese unicorn kirin portraitdeer.

Sometimes kirin has scales like a dragon, and it has a tail of an ox. Kirin can have a horse-like appearance too, but its horn points backwards.

Kirin’s horn is sometimes like a deer’s antler with branches. Actually, I have seen images of kirin with two antlers, so it’s not technically a unicorn then.

Kirin always has very intent eyes and a heavenly voice.

Kirin in Popular Culture

Kirin is seen on the Japanese anime seriesthe Twelve Kingdoms” (十二国記Jūni Kokki), based on the fantasy novel series written by Fuyumi Ono. On this series, the monarch of each kingdom is chosen by a kirin.

Kirin is seen in the role-play video game series Final Fantasy as a monster, as a god and as a mount.

In the fantasy tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, kirin is also granted with a role of a monster.

Kirin appears on the season 8 of the animated series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic“.

The Kirin Brewery Company and Kirin Beer

The Japanese Kirin brewery company‘s logo portrays the Japanese unicorn kirin. The mythical unicorn shows off on the bottles and cans of beer brewed by this company.

I admit it might have something to do with the unicorn logo, but Kirin beer is my favorite beer. Well, it’s not just the logo, it’s the taste too.

Kirin lager and Kirin Ichiban are two of the most popular beers in Japan. Actually, that’s fitting as the Japanese word ichiban一番 means ‘number one’.

Kirin Is My Special Unicorn.

OK, it’s time for the personal revelation related to the Japanese unicorn kirin.

I’m very fond of this creature. Actually, I like it so much, that the first tattoo I had 10 years ago is a kirin. Yes, that’s the revelation; I have a kirin tattoo. 🙂

My kirin tattoo is a horse-like creature with a very long tail of an ox. It has some scales on its back, and its horn points backwards. I think my kirin tattoo is pretty cool, what do you think?

japanese unicorn kirin tattoo
My kirin tattoo

The Japanese Unicorn Kirin – One of a Kind

The Japanese unicorn kirin is a benevolent creature. Like the Chinese unicorn qilin, kirin is able to tell the truth from the lie. It is often seen as an omen of a good leader.

Kirin refuses to eat flesh or harm living creatures. It can be fierce against evildoers, though.

In Japan, kirin is considered the most powerful of all mythical creatures.

While the Chinese unicorn qilin resembles a dragon, the Japanese unicorn kirin looks more like a one-horned deer.

Kirin is a character in many television series and games, made both in Japan and in the Western countries.

The mythical creature kirin is portrayed in the logo of the Japanese brewery company Kirin Limited.

The Japanese unicorn kirin is perhaps rarest of all the unicorn species. Even if you visit Japan, it is unlikely you would ever meet a kirin. That’s because kirins only appears during periods of World peace or before the birth of a benevolent ruler.

If you have any questions or comments about the Japanese unicorn, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Have a magical day.




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I'm a writer, a unicorn lover and a day dreamer. I want to share the magical world of unicorns with you.

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