Japanese Owl Meaning and Symbolism

Japanese Owl Meaning and Symbolism

If you’re wondering about the Japanese owl meaning and symbolism in Asian cultures, the Owl, along with Maneki Neko (lucky cat) are often seen in shops and homes in Japan as they are revered for bringing good luck, fortune, health, and love. The pronunciation of the Japanese word for owl is “fookuroh” or “fukuroh”. The entire word itself contains two characters with very distinct meanings. Kuroh means hardship while fu itself means “not”, so if they are combined will give the meaning of “no hardship”.

Japanese Owl Symbolism and Meaning

Being one of the most popular lucky charms in Japan, the Japanese lucky owls make a wonderful gift for friends and family in the country. Each lucky owl with different colors may symbolize different meaning such as white for happiness, yellow for peace, pink for love, black for health, red for good luck, gold for wealth and green for a dream. Today, the owl is portrayed throughout Japan in artwork, charms, clothing and other popular items.

Owl Meanings and Symbolism in Other Cultures

In many countries, owl symbolism has been associated with wisdom, magic, and heightened senses. Plains Indians even wore feathers of owl to protect themselves from negative spirits, and in some cultures, the bird was seen as a sacred guardian of the afterlife. The owl was attributed to the goddess of wisdom, Athena, in Greek mythology. And since the bird was used on Greek coins, it also became associated with wealth. In ancient Egyptian, Hindu, and Celtic cultures the owl symbolic meaning revolved around guardianship of the underworld and as a protection of the dead.

However, these birds also had a bad name in medieval Europe as it was considered a symbol of witchcraft and black magic. They believed owls were actually witches, priestesses, and wizards in disguise. Some people also regard the owl as a symbol of mystery, foresight, mysticism, and keeper of sacred knowledge. In Poland, it was believed that unmarried girls who died will turn into doves and those who died married will turn into owls.

In India, owls meat was used to cure rheumatism and the eye broth was for seizures in children. The meat was also believed to be an aphrodisiac. There were beliefs about events predicted by the number of owl hoots 1: death, 2: success, 3: a woman will soon marry, 4: disturbance, 5: imminent travel, 6: guests arriving, 7: mental distress, 8: death, 9: wealth.

Japanese Owl Meaning and Symbolism

Although considered by the Chinese to be an inauspicious bird, owl pictures or figures can be used to increase the Yang energy (positive or masculine side of Yin Yang) in the environment. Many Chinese do not like the bird because the word for owl “mao thow ying” is the same character or word as ‘killing a person and placing the head on a pole”. They also do not like the hooting or sound that the bird makes. In Chinese phonetic meaning, the sound gives the expression for digging of a grave.

Japanese Owls and Feng Shui

In feng shui, the owl can be used to change the flow of chi in the environment. Some people place it in their garden to stimulate Yang energy or use it to improve their feng shui home office (to ward off evil spirits). Other recommended places to display these items are somewhere near your main door or your active back door, as well as any window facing a spooky or busy street. These feng shui-ed owls will act as watchful guardians not letting any mischievous or lost spirits get into the house always let the owls facing towards the outside of your house.

Japanese Owl Meaning and Symbolism
John is a Personal Finance Contributor and dog-parent. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting, additional training in family financial strategies, and has been an adviser and mentor on business accounting and personal savings topics for more than 20 years.