Kame (亀): Turtle

The Japanese word for turtle is kame, and the Japanese believe that the turtle is a symbol for wisdom, luck, protection, and longevity; longevity due to their long lifespan and slow movements. The turtle is magic and unites heaven and earth, with its shell representing heaven and its square underside representing earth.

Images of kame are quite popular. In Japanese mythology kame is a symbol of power and immortality. Kame supports the World Mountain, a refuge of the immortals. One such image is found in the monument to Tokugawa Ieyasu in Ryogoku, Tokyo. Kame have often been pictured by Japanese artists, including one of the most famous artists of Edo era, Hokusai Katsushika.

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