Hodophylax: The Guardian of The Path
This work is about Japanese wolves, which are said to have been extinct about 100 years ago. Nevertheless, the experiences of sightings and roar still are reported.
Long ago, while mountain dwellers feared the wolves, they were also grateful for the natural predators of animals that damaged their crops. They eventually came to worship wolves as incarnations of the mountain gods.
In Japanese folklore, there is a famous recorded belief called the “escort wolf” whereby a wolf follows a person walking alone in the forest at night until he reached home safely. There is a duality in this belief, which reveals both gratitude toward the wolves for protection against evil spirits, but also trepidation―a fear of being pounced on and devoured should one stumble.
My hope is that this work will allow people to imagine and contemplate, the fierce yet revered Japanese wolf and its habitat in Japan’s nature, as well as their co-inhabitants―the ancient people who developed methods to co-exist with the wolf.