The Mystery of Y Shaped Land

“Find Y shaped land and then bury him there.” My grandma told me this when my puppy died over 20 years ago.

One Sunday afternoon, my puppy got food poisoning and died in an awful way. I was so sad but that’s the life so I decided to bury him somewhere.

The next day, I got up early. My brother wanted to come with me to help dig a hole and say good-bye to our beloved puppy. Then we realized that we had no idea where to bury him.

My grandma came to our rescue. She lived with us and was a super early riser. She suggested, “Find Y shaped land and bury him there.”

That’s interesting, but why not just anywhere, like the side of a road?

My parents’ house is located in a rural part of Japan so I thought any empty land could be used as a pet cemetery.

Grandma just kept saying that it was important to bury him on Y shaped land so we didn’t ask her about the significance of it.

“Okay! We’ll try and find Y shaped land.”

We started walking down the sloped sidewalk near our home. It felt weird to push a wheelbarrow with the body of our puppy inside. But the air was fresh in the early morning and we had a task to complete.

Five minutes later, we found perfect Y shaped land right beside an actual graveyard.

“You think it’s okay?” I asked my brother with a bit of fear.

“I think so. Let’s get this done and get home so we won’t be late for school.” He acted cool as a cucumber. That made me a little more comfortable.

We dug a hole. It probably was not deep enough.

We buried him there with some incense, finishing with murmuring Buddhist sutras and prayers like we’d heard our grandma say at the family shrine.

Our simple ceremony was done like that and we went home with the empty wheelbarrow. It felt so light – the opposite of my sad heart.

The first couple of weeks, every time I walked or rode my bicycle past that Y shaped land, I glanced quickly to see if anything was wrong. I was afraid to check more carefully.

One year passed and I started forgetting about our puppy. I never paid attention to the Y shaped land even though I walked past there almost every day. I also never heard asked why Y shaped land was so important to my grandmother.

The Significance of Y Shaped Land

My grandma passed away over 10 years ago. It’s impossible to ask now about the mystery of Y shaped land.

Two years ago, when my wife got pregnant, we got a maternity belly strap from my family in Japan. It was called “Inu Jirushi (Dog Brand Strap)”.

In Japan, when women get pregnant, they are supposed to visit a special shrine or temple on the day called “the day of dog” to prey for the safe delivery of their babies and get this strap.

A dog is considered as a fortune animal when it comes to human delivery because a dog’s delivery is usually safe, successful and they have lots of babies at once.

We had a healthy baby. Was this because of the belly strap? Or was it our midwives or other factors?

What does this have to do with burying my puppy on Y shaped land?

Death and reincarnation are connected to life. A dog is a fortunate animal for pregnancy and safe delivery. Y shaped land looks like a woman’s groin where new life comes from.

y shape

Maybe people in Japan buried dogs in Y shaped land for those reasons a long time ago. I heard that some places were so popular for dog burials that a monument was eventually built.

My brother heard a different story. He was told that each branch in Y shaped land has meaning. One if for life and the other is for death.

A third story I heard said that animals and humans were separated by the Y. One branch was for humans and one was for animals.

Each story is interesting and I will never know which one my grandmother believed. But the first story is my favorite.

6 thoughts on “The Mystery of Y Shaped Land

  1. Pingback: Introducing a new blog: Gozumezu, Mysteries of Japan | Japan Can(ada) Mix

  2. Reblogged this on Japan Can(ada) Mix and commented:
    “The Mystery of Y Shaped Land” is the third installment in reblogging posts from Hitoshi’s blog, Gozumezu.

    Hitoshi’s blog is focused on “sharing Japanese mysteries” including those he grew up hearing.

    I never had the privelage to meet his maternal grandmother but I would have loved to. She passed on special knowledge, stories and beliefs to Hitoshi that were important to her.

    While we won’t ever know the reasons behind her wisdom, I feel it’s still important to record the impressions she left with Hitoshi to keep the sharing alive.


  3. Hi Hitoshi,

    I arrived here via Hillary’s blog and just wanted to say I loved this story of your little dog and the significance of Y shaped land. It really tugged at my heartstrings.



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