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Wani (鰐) is a dragon or sea monster in Japanese mythology.


Since it is written the kanji 鰐 (from Chinese e 鰐 or 鱷 "crocodile; alligator") wani is translated as "crocodile", or sometimes "shark" (from wanizame 鰐鮫 "shark"). However, it is used several times as a proper name in The Kojiki (e.g., the Confucianist scholar Wani, Chamberlain 1919:2,313) and once as a sea-monster,

The ya-hiro no kuma-wani (八尋熊鰐 lit. fathom bear wani

The sea-god Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami (see Ebisu) and sea-princess Tamagushi had a daughter who married Emperor Jimmu, the legendary first emperor of Japan. Another version is that Koto-shiro-nushi no Kami, having become transformed into an eight-fathom bear-sea-monster, had intercourse with Mizo-kuhi hime of the island of Mishima (some call her Tama-kushi-hime), and had by her a child named Hime-tatara I-suzu-hime no Mikoto, who became the Empress of Emperor Kami-Yamato Ihare-biko Hohodemi. (tr. Aston 1896:1,61-2).


  • Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. 2 vols. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint.
  • Aston, William George. 1905. Shinto: (the Way of the Gods). Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Benedict, Paul K. 1990. Japanese Austro/Tai. Karoma.
  • Chamberlain, Basil H., tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters. 1981 Tuttle reprint.
  • Mackenzie, Donald A. 1923. Myths of China and Japan. Gresham.
  • Müller, F.W.K. 1893. "Mythe der Kei-Insulaner und Verwandtes." Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 25:533-77.
  • Satow, Ernest Mason. 1881, "Ancient Japanese Rituals, Part III," Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 9:183-211
  • Smith, G. Elliot. 1919. The Evolution of the Dragon. London: Longmans, Green & Company.
  • Visser, Marinus Willern de. 1913. The Dragon in China and Japan. J. Müller.


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