Jinkenmen, Human faced dog

Jinkenmen which means human faced dog was a part of the Japanese lore.  But there have been a number of sightings reported on the creature during 1603-1808.  There was also a story that a Jinkenmen was at display at misemono.  Misemono is a type of a carnival show during the Edo era.  The sideshows usually consist of carcasses and remain of the exotic animal and were mounted on exhibit.

While the mummified corpse of the Jinkenmen were said to be on display on that carnival, there were also accounts saying that a live jinkenmen was shown.  Though it is not clear if the carnival displayed a real dog or a Jinkenmen on the show, the fact remains that there are a lot of accounts claiming that they witnessed the human faced dog.

One of those accounts includes the experience of a zoologist who visited the place. The zoologist was astonished on the specimen that he witnessed.  He said:

“There cowering and whimpering in the corner of the display booth I saw the hunched over form of what I first took to be a typical shiba inu, although of a somewhat more pungent odor. Then the thing looked up with sad eyes and I could see clearly that it was the face of a human being, albeit with the empty, soulless gaze of an animal. I immediately assumed trickery upon seeing such an aberration, yet if one had forged such a horrific sight then they had done so with such ingenuity and craftsmanship that I was unable to ascertain it as such. If this was some sort of macabre taxidermy of a living thing, then it was done without any visible indication of such. I could see no apparent stitches or artificial connection between human face and dog. I was eager to be on my way from such a ghastly abomination and the thing’s gaze left me with a deep unease long after I had left.”

A feeling of despair is often associated to the sightings of Jinkenmen.  There are also stories saying that the creature has the ability to hypnotize someone.  The sightings of the creature was not only limited on the Edo Era.  In 1980, a dog with a face of a human was seen searching through the pile of garbage in Shibuya District, Tokyo.


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