he unicorn of Eastern tradition is very different in appearance from the Western unicorn, but they share many characteristics. For example, the Eastern unicorn was depicted as a solitary animal, believed to have sprung from the center of the earth, the first and most perfect of the 360 land creatures. The Eastern unicorn always reached its destination, never falling into pits or traps, so it was honored as a great spiritual guide through life.
The Japanese unicorn, is an important part of oriental culture. Here the unicorn plays different roles and could appear as the gentle kirin, as the k'i - lin, or the sin - you.
The kirin and the k'i - lin, normally shy creatures, taking large detours to avoid confrontation, have a similar gazelle-like appearance and are solitary animals who walk with measured tread, though some say the k'i-lin skips. The male is called the k'i, while the female is the lin. Although it had different forms. its eyes were always intent and piercing.
In contrast the sin - you looks like a lion, being thick-maned, tawny, and fierce, with a single horn. The Sin-you unicorn was not as timid as its brothers and known for its ability to know right from wrong was often called upon to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals. If an individual was determined to be guilty, the Sin-you would fix its eyes upon him and pierce the guilty person with its horn.
In Taoism and other mystical Eastern cultures, there arose a variety of teachings in art and dance to honor all of nature, including the unicorn and other sacred beasts.