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.
Tesso (The iron rat) is truly a one of a kind yokai. A rat demon the size of a full-grown man, armed with metal teeth and claws, capable of shredding and tearing almost anything. Combine this with a pied-piper like ability to call a legion of real rats to do his destructive bidding, and Tesso becomes quite a formidable foe to be reckoned with
Today’s yokai shares something in common with Hashi Hime in that also Tesso began life as a human, a buddhist monk named Raigo, but was later transformed into a vengeful yokai. Again it was sheer force of will, and a driving anger, that provde the catalyst for the transformation.
I already knew the basic story of how Raigo came to turn into his rodent form, however as Raigo’s temple (Mii-Dera) is not far from where I live, I decided to make the trip there and see if I could dig up anything connected with the myth.
That the Kappa, a water spirit whose behaviour can veer from troublesome to lethal, has become prominent in Japanese folk law isn’t surprising – Japan is a very watery place full of lakes, rivers, irrigation canals and drainage ditches.
Watery deaths must have claimed a lot of Japanese lives over the years, and the Kappa is the anthropomorphized embodiment of that danger.
This week I made a trip to Uji to try and find the shrine dedicated to this lovely lady – Hashi Hime (illustrated here by Demonicangel-Bayou from Deviant Art).
Hashi Hime, literally ”The Bridge Princess’, is somewhat a rarity in yokai circle as she started life as human who transformed herself into a vengeful yokai by sheer willpower. The name appears in many tales and she herself in many incarnations. Perhaps the most famous variation is that of the jealous wife who is driven to distraction by her husband’s infidelity and swears revenge.