dragon; imperial; "big dragon" radical
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Unlike Europeans, who have feared dragons, the Japanese have viewed them as mythical or divine since ancient times. The dragon is even more important in China, where it symbolizes the emperor, is associated with water and weather, and is an imaginary creature in legends. In this essay you'll find out about dragons from every angle, including the following: animals with dragons inside them, tense relations between dragons and tigers, dragons that fly away, and the dragon inside the waterfall kanji. In more practical terms, you'll read about Chinese dragon boats, as well as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, who both had connections to dragons. Finally, you'll discover whatever there is to know about the "dragon" radical—and why one might be tempted to call it the "hidden dragon" radical. Incidentally, 竜 is a Shin-Joyo kanji; it's a 2010 addition to the Joyo set.
February 27, 2013: On Sidebar 1 (page 3), I changed the yomi of 竜神川 from りゅうじんかわ to りゅうじんがわ, which is the more probable reading. Also fixed the 2nd link in that sidebar.
August 31, 2012: Added five great photos! You'll find them on pages 12, 18, 19, and 20.