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Despite tough economic times, many dog owners in Japan still shell out big yen to pamper their pooches: Delectable ドッグおやつ (dogguoyatsu, dog snacks), perky 犬洋服 (inuy ōfuku, dog clothing), and outings to the 犬の美容院 (inu no biyōin, dog beauty salon) are de rigueur for the coddled 愛犬 (aiken, beloved dog).

In stark contrast, in ancient China, when the pictograph representing “dog” was first scrawled out, canines were generally worked to death and then eaten. The kanji 燃 (moeru, burn), printed on household garbage bags and public trash cans in Japan, pictures the flesh (肉) of a dog (犬) roasting on one fire (火) on the left and another on the bottom right (four dots).

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