National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

A Lion Guarding VERA Ishigakijima Station


A Lion Guarding VERA Ishigakijima Station

A shisa, a lion-dog statue with a wide-eyed glare, stands atop VERA* Ishigakijima Station’s gatepost. The shisa, which can be found in Okinawa and other areas, is a mythical beast modeled after a lion. They are said to possess the ability to ward off evil influences which cause misfortune.

VERA Ishigakijima Station, located on Ishigakijima in Okinawa, is located on the path typhoons traverse. It has been struck by typhoons many times. There has been damage to buildings and such, but thankfully so far there hasn’t been any serious damage to the radio telescope itself. This is probably because the shisa protects it.

* VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry

Text by: Makoto Shizugami (Mizusawa VLBI Observatory)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)