Earlier I painted the hyousube, and today I bring you his non-hairy cousin, Kappa! Almost anyone with even a mild familiarity with Japanese culture should have heard of the kappa. This is one of the most famous yokai, with kind of a water goblin with a wide range of supernatural powers. They’re very mischievous troublemakers, and often end up interacting with humans, for better or for worse. They’re somewhat monkey-like, with rubbery, scaly skin and turtle shells. They have webbed hands and feet, reek of fish, and are supposed to have slippery, stretchable body parts. If you’re a sushi-lover, you’ve no doubt heard of the kappa-maki, a cucumber roll, named for the kappa because cucumbers are his absolute favorite food. (On the other hand, we can be thankful there is no sushi roll for the kappa’s other favorite food, the oshiri-dango, or ass dumpling, a mythical body part which resides inside the human anus.) In addition to reeking like fish, kappa are said to possess three anuses, which allow them to lay almighty farts. (I’m not making this up.)
It’s not uncommon to see signs warning about kappa near rivers or lakes here, with gruesome illustrations of kappa snatching children and dragging them into the water. Besides children, they like to eat horses, and occasionally adult humans. They’re most dangerous as perpetrators of drownings, cucumber theft, scaring livestock, and unwelcome bathroom touching (they like to hide in toilets and caress the buttocks of people sitting down). Kappa are also said to be masters of the bone-breaking martial art, koppojutsu, so be careful!
They do have one weakness, and that is that all of their power comes from a small dish which is found on top of their skull. This dish is filled with water, and if the water ever spills out or dries up, the kappa will lost all of its strength and magic. They go to great lengths to protect their dishes, but they have a strong sense of honor, and so always return a bow. Young children are taught to bow very low if they see a kappa, in which case the kappa will bow back, spilling the dish. Kappa captured in this way often have their arms or legs cut off, and only returned after the kappa promises to teach some magic or hidden knowledge to their captor.
So what have we learned today, kids? That’s right, there’s a delicious ball hidden deep inside every human anus!