National

Kumamoto Castle shachihoko are back after original guardian statues sustained damage in 2016 quake

Kyodo

The city of Kumamoto on Wednesday unveiled new statues for the roof of its iconic castle, to replace those damaged by last year’s major earthquakes.

The four new statues of the shachihoko, a mythical half-fish creature, are currently on display at a nearby visitor center and will eventually be placed atop the main towers of Kumamoto Castle.

The nonprofit Nippon Foundation funded the reconstruction of the statues, which cost about ¥25 million and will stand 120 cm tall on the larger tower and 90 cm tall on the smaller tower. Two local roof tile craftsmen were engaged to recreate them.

With large, bulbous eyes and wide fins, the statues are regarded as guardians of the castle, where massive restoration work is underway to repair serious damage from the quakes in April 2016.

The two larger statues will be on exhibit at the visitor center until next February, and the two smaller ones will remain until August 2019, before they are installed on the castle roof.