The Yokai Files – Kappa – Mummies and Movies
My original Kappa post is by far the most viewed post on this blog – so I thought I’d do a follow up for all you Kappa fans and let you know more about everybody’s favorite Japanese water imp. So today I’m going to share a whole host of interesting Kappa images, links and suggested viewing with you all.
I promised a follow up a long time ago when I was about to depart on a quest to try and track down a mummified Kappa in Osaka. So that’s where we’ll pick up today.
So the reason I didn’t do the follow up sooner was that my attempts to get to see the Kappa mummy in Osaka were rebuffed by the owners of the temple. However, here are some pictures of supposed Kappa mummies from around the world.
Firstly, the one I wanted to see.
Secondly, one from the National of Ethnology in the Netherlands.
Lastly, one from Imari in Saga, Japan.
All three images come from this article over at Pink Tentacle. Not many updates recently but there are some wonderful articles in the archive if you dig around a bit (just type ‘yokai’ into the search box). For example – Click here for a great article on Edo period Kappa woodblock prints – like these!
And anybody who is willing to do some serious reading on the topic can check out this very detailed write up of all things Kappa at onmarkproductions.com. As well as almost every aspect of Kappa mythology (and possible fact) it’s packed with cool illustrations and photos too. For example, this one of a fisherman using his butt as bait to go fishing for a Kappa -
In case you’re wondering why this would tempt a Kappa, well the answer is that Kappa crave ‘shirikodama’, which literally translates as something like ‘anus ball’. This mythical ball is believe to be removed from a victim’s anus by the Kappa, and this is what causes them to drown (not all that water in the lungs as you may have thought). This belief may have come about due to the fact that many drowning victims have a distended, or open, anus – as if something was removed.
Anyway, this video touches on the subject, though calling the balls by the more delicate name of ‘spirit balls’ – this is just one of a series of videos on ‘How to raise a Kappa’, but it’s the only one I could find with English subtitles.
And if that whet your appetite more Kappas on film, check this out -
Well the title says it all really, it’s a movie about a giant killer Kappa. What this film tries to do is to re imagine the humble Kappa as a kaiju (a giant monster, in the vein of Godzilla). Now, I haven’t actually bothered to watch this whole movie myself. Its 4/10 imdb rating, and this trailer, were enough for me. However, the trailer is amusing, and it’s good to see that the Kappa’s traditional love of wrestling is present and correct in his fighting style.
Although not so Kappa-centric, there are other yokai movie (featuring Kappa) far more worthy of your time. Most notably the Yokai Monsters series which consists of 3 classic titles, from 1968-69, and a worthy modern entry made in 2005. Check out the imdb links below -