Friday, April 01, 2016

The Shiro Mimi: Japan's Early Answer to Radar

Geonni Banner writes:
Ah! But the Scarlett Point Terriers were not the only ones…..

Around the same time the Japanese were relying on a little-known breed, the Shiro Mimi (translation: "White Ears").

Used for centuries to hunt bears and known for their keen hearing and unusual ferocity, these dogs were actually descended from the Korean Jindo Dog, shown below.

In the early 1930’s Dr. Manzo Yoshida worked tirelessly in his Hokkiado home to perfect the Shiro Mimi as an early warning system for an attack he was convinced would come from the Kamchatka Penninsula.


He struggled for years to gain Imperial support for his remarkable dogs, but Hirohito was convinced that his war tubas were the answer to his early warning system. Both the dogs and the war tubas were discarded in favor of radar.

The Shiro Mimi was nearly lost during the terrible times of hunger during the final years of the war, but a few still exist in the hands of the Yoshida family.

Below are the only known photos of Dr. Yoshida with his wife, and one of his best dog, San, withhis son Taro.

The Yoshida family is currently attempting to revive the breed by crossing the few remaining dogs of pure blood with modern Jindos, but as yet have produced very few dogs that meet their standards.

"These dogs are very special,” says Jiro Yoshida, grandson of Manzo. “We hope that soon we will have enough “Shi-Mis” to get recognition from the Nippon Kennel Club.

Geoni, of course, is right on every point, though there is some controversy among those who believe the Shiro Mimi Inu (aka "the white listener dog") is not descended from the Jindo, but instead is descended from a rare all-white version of the Hokaikdo Dog

This last claim, is how Japan's SoftBank telecom company came to feature an all white Hokkaido dog named Kai-kun as part of its telephone company advertising. 



geonni banner said...

While it seems likely that the Hokkaido Dog did play a part it the development of the Shi Mi, it has been determined by DNA testing to be related to the Bankhar dog of Mongolia

- an ancestor of the Jindo. Also, Dr. Yoshida did visit Korea in the mid-1920's, and it was thought that he received a pair of Jindo pups at that time. This was a rare honor, as the Jindo was not commonly allowed to leave the country. It is interesting to note that Dr. Yoshida was attacked and injured by a man who he claimed was a Korean. However his assailant fell overboard in the struggle, and was lost at sea.

Chas Clifton said...

I'll see you that and raise you a Chesapeake Bay soul retriever.

Sean said...

All efforts should be taken to ensure that one of the first Listener Dogs imported reaches the dog whisperer.

Ixectrona said...

That first picture - I don't know where you got it or whether you know it's not as ancient as it looks, but that dog belongs (or belonged) to a Swedish kennel, and his name is Wolfie.

geonni banner said...

By golly, Ah think they's summat a-pullin' on mah laig...