Even today, Japanese know precious little about sheep. Which is to say that sheep as an animal have no historical connection wit the daily life of the Japanese. Sheep were imported at the state level from America, raised briefly, then promptly ignored. That’s your sheep. After the war, when importation of wool and mutton from Australia and New Zealand was liberalized, the merits of sheep raising in Japan plummeted to zero. A tragic animal, do you not think? Here, then, is the very image of modern Japan.
From A Wild Sheep Chase, or, the book where Haruki Murakami manages to summarize modern Japanese history whilst talking about sheep