Anonymous asked this question on 3/6/2000:
Do you have any info on the Japanese legend of the Panda and good luck?
cassius622 gave this response on 3/7/2000:
Your question is an interesting one! As far as I can tell the legends about the Panda are Chinese rather than Japanese... the Panda exists only in China. Here is all the Chinese and historical information I know about them.
The "Da Xiong Mao" Bear "Da xiong mao", the Chinese name for the giant panda means "great bear cat". Chinese books, written over 3,000 years ago, talk of the giant panda. Even then, it was believed to be endowed with mystical powers capable of warding off natural disasters and evil spirits. The scientific name for giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, simply means black and white bear.
The reason panda's have become associated with good luck date from these early legends. The mild and aloof temper of these bears, the stark coloring, and the fact that they had no natural predators all combined to give them a mystical reputation.
The giant panda is believed to have made its first appearance during the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene, about three million years ago. Panda fossils have been found in present day Burma, Vietnam, and particularly early in eastern China, as far north as Beijing.
In the second century AD the giant panda was a rare and semi-divine animal inside China. In the Han dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) emperor's garden, in the then capital Xian, held nearly 40 rare animal species, of which the panda was the most highly treasured. The Chinese poet Bai Juyi (772-846 AD) credited the panda with the mystical powers capable of warding off natural disasters and exorcising evil spirits. Panda skins appear scattered throughout Chinese imperial records, as gifts or tributes on great occasions of states. The giant panda was totally unknown outside the secretive "Middle Kingdom" until the declining Qing Dynasty was slowly forced to open its doors to trade and Christianity towards the end of the 19th century.
Hope this helps!
The average rating for this answer is 5.
Anonymous rated this answer a 5.
Cassius,your answer helps alot,THANKS!!