The Kirin is a mystical unicorn and is similar to a stag. The legend of the Kirin mainly comes from Japan, but it also came from the most remote forests in China. It is described to have the body of a musk deer and whooshes its tail like an ox. The easiest way to distinguish it from all other unicorns is the spots on its back. It also has a yellowish belly, which is multi-colored consisting of red, yellow, blue, white, and black. Kirins have a tendency to be shy, which is in result of the lack of knowledge they have about themselves. They never fight, unlike the karkadann, which is another type of unicorn.

The kirin looks fearsome and only punishes sinners. It can walk on water and grass, yet one will not see a small splash or the blades crush. Known to be a peaceful creature, its diet does not include meat.

The modern day Japanese word for a giraffe is kirin. The word kirin is also said to be an older spelling of Jilin, a village in China. Kirin has other various spellings, including qilin and quilin.

Types of Kirin

The kirin has different types of appearance. It is seen in China from the cultural distinctions between different dynasties.

For example, in the Ming dynasty of China (1368–1644), the kirin is symbolized as an oxen-hooved animal with a lion-like head. It has a triumphant single horn and typical animal skin, appearing as a representation of a real animal. This Ming kirin is sometimes referred to as the "Chinese unicorn" for its exterior similarities to the Western unicorn.

However, in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the kirin is a much more designed animal. Manchurian portrayals of the kirin show a creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the skin and scales of a fish, the hooves of an ox and the tail of a lion.

In the Chinese culture of mythological animals, the kirin is positioned as the second-most powerful creature after the dragon. However in Japan, the kirin is the most powerful creature. In China, viewing the kirin is an exception, however they often appear to people in magnificent events, such as the birth of Confucius. However in Japan, viewing the kirin is considered a prophecy of extreme good luck, but only to a righteous person.