Ryujin: The dragon god

Ryujin, also known as Watatsumi, is a huge dragon with a long, snake-like body, covered with scales. He is usually depicted with a long mustache, a beard and three claws legs.

He lives at the bottom of the ocean in the Ryugu-jo, a huge palace made of rushes and corals, where sea turtles, fish and jellyfish are his servants. From this place, he controls the tides with jewels, which also serve as decorations for the palace. He also occasionally takes on a human form to visit the surface.

The dragon god, Ryujin, chasing Tamatori

The legend of the jellyfish

The most famous story about Ryujin is that of the jellyfish (or octopus in some versions) and the monkey.

One day, Ryujin asked the jellyfish, which still had bones, a tail and feet, to bring him a monkey liver. The dragon god asked this to heal his daughter from an incurable disease. The jellyfish found the monkey and brought him back to Ryujin’s palace. Once arrived, the monkey quickly understood the fate that awaited him 🙉! He therefore told the jellyfish that his liver was too heavy to carry around, so he had to hide it in a tree. He offered to retrieve it and the jellyfish accompanied him. Of course, once they arrived in front of the tree, there was no hidden liver; the monkey claiming that he had been robbed and that he was going to find the thieves to recover it.

In the meantime, the jellyfish returned to Ryujin and explained the situation to him. The dragon not being fooled, immediately understood that the monkey had played the jellyfish. Furious, he crushed the jellyfish to the point of losing all of its bones, giving it the shape that we know today.

By the way, if you’d like to read more cool stories and legends about Ryujin, feel free to check out our dedicated article on the topic: Ryujin, the Japanese dragon god.

Ryujin was one of the most important dragons of Japanese mythology. He was the god of the sea that ruled the ocean and protected Japan. He was also the king of all dragons! Oh, and he was also capable of morphing into different animals as well as take a human form…

Ryujin was the father of the beautiful goddess Otohime who married the hunting prince Hoori. According to the legend, the first Japanese emperor, Jimmu, was the grandson of Otohime and Hoori. As a consequence, we can see that Ryujin is actually an ancestor of the Japanese imperial dynasty.

Leave a Reply