“Red-haired and white-haired ones are just for contests. You know, traditionally, the real Akita dogs were Tora!” -Daisuke, a character from Silver Fang – The Shooting Star Gin – (Ginga:Nagareboshi Gin)
The popular manga Silver Fang – The Shooting Star Gin – follows a Tora Akita dog named Gin and his owner Daisuke. Silver Fang portrays Tora Akita dogs as brave and suitable for hunting bears.
Silver Fang author, Mr. Takahashi Yoshihiro, is from Higashinaruse Village of Akita Prefecture. Mr. Takahashi recalled, “My father used to say the same thing about Tora Akita dogs. He was not a hunter, but he loved animals. I believe everyone in our village would agree to this.”
There was also a practical reason why Mr. Takahashi chose a Tora Akita dog as the manga’s main character. He explained, “Manga is usually done in black and white. Compared with red-haired or other colored dogs, Tora is more suitable for black and white. Furthermore, Tora often looks strong and handsome, which is attractive.”
The Silver Fang series began in 1983 and now includes Silver Fang Legend Weed (Ginga Densetsu Weed), in which the son of Gin plays an active role, and Silver Fang Legend Noah (Ginga Densetsu Noah), which is currently being serialized in a weekly magazine. The manga series has become popular with people of all ages. Last month, the Masuda Manga Museum in Yokote City held an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mr. Takahashi’s art career.
When Mr. Takahashi was a child, his parents kept a mixed breed Akita dog called Kuro, whom he grew up with like brothers. Sometimes, he also played with other Akita dogs kept in the neighborhood. Mr. Takahashi believes that owning a dog in the house is beneficial for child education, through which “children can learn about the pain and sorrow of death.”
As a native of Akita, Mr. Takahashi is proud of the brave and beautiful Tora Akita dogs. In the “Silver Fang World,” Tora will continue to shine in the era of Reiwa.