Netsuke depicting Hanasak Jiji, carved from wood with ivory inlays to the front depicting cherry trees. To the base, the smaller himotoshi ring and the signature plate are both inlaid with ivory.
Tale of Hanaska Jiji and his beloved dog
An old childless couple loved their dog. One day, it dug in the garden and uncovered a box of gold pieces. A neighbour thought the dog must be able to find treasure, and borrowed the dog. When it dug in his garden, there were only bones, and he killed it. He told the couple that the dog had just dropped dead. They grieved and buried it under the fig tree where it had found the treasure. One night, the dog's master dreamed that the dog told him to chop down the tree and make a mortar from it. He told his wife, who said they must do as the dog asked. When they did, the rice put into the mortar turned into gold. The neighbour borrowed the mortar, but his rice turned to foul-smelling berries, and he and his wife smashed and burned the mortar.
That night, in a dream, the dog told his master to take the ashes of the mortar and sprinkle them on certain cherry trees. When he did, the cherry trees came into bloom, and the daimyō (feudal landlord), passing by, marvelled and gave him many gifts. The neighbour tried to do the same, but the ashes blew into the daimyō's eyes, so he threw him into prison; when he was let out, his village would not let him live there anymore, and he could not, with his wicked ways, find a new home.
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