Kappa

Hear about Kappa on Episode 43 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.


Kappa
Depiction in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyo.

Kappa

The Kappa (河童), also noted by Toriyama Sekien as being called the Kawatarō and Kawa-warawa is a type of Japanese Yōkai depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō.

They are distinctive as frog-type men, with tortoise shell backs and a water-filled depression on the top of their heads. Spilling the liquid would cause them to lose their power. Known to prey on people, especially swimmers they would circle below and try to steal a person’s shirikodama, a type of life-force said to reside in the colon.

Their likes are said to be Sumo Wrestling and cucumbers.

Some people considered the Suiko as a type of Kappa as well as the creature known as the Kawa Akago.1

Other Depictions

Bakemono no e

External Links

Footnotes

1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: over Publications, Inc.

List of Supernatural Creatures

Abura akago * Aka Manto * Akaname * Akashita * Amanozako * Amefuri Kozo * Amikiri * Aōbozu * Aonyobo * Aosagi no hi * Buruburu * Chochin bi * Dōmeki * Funa Yurei * Furaribi * Furutsubaki no rei * Gaikotsu * Ganbari Nyudo * Gagoze * Gensuke * Haka no hi * Hannya * Hashi-Hime * Hiderigami * Hikeshi baba * Hinode * Hitodama * Hitotsume Kozō * Hiyoribo * Hone Onna * Hyōsube * Ikiryō * Inugami * Jorōgumo * Kamaitachi * Kamikiri * Kanedama * Kappa * Kasha * Katawa Guruma * Kawa Akago * Kawauso * Kitsunebi * Kejoro * Kodama * Kosenjo no hi * Kurozuka * Makurageishi * Mikoshi * Momonjii * Nekomata * Noderabō * Nopperabo * Nuppeppō * Nurarihyon * Nureonna * Nuribotoke * Nyūnai Suzume * Obariyon * Ōkaburo * Ōkubi * Okiku * Ōmagatoki * Oni * Onmoraki * Osakabe * Otoroshi * Ouni * Rokurokubi * Sakabashira * Samebito * Sansei * Sarakozoe * Satori * Seta * Shirachigo * Shiranui * Shōkera * Shuten-dōji * Sōgenbi * Suiko * Takaonna * Tamamo-no-mae * Tanuki * Tenasobi * Tenjō-Kudari * Tengu * Tenome * Teratsutsuki * Tesso * Tōfu Kozō * Tsurubebi * Ubagabi * Ubume * Umibozū * Umizatō * Ushinotoki-mairi * Ushioni * Uwan * Waira * Wani * Wanyudo * Yamabiko * Yamauba * Yamawarawa * Yanari * Yukionna * Zenki and Goki

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