Japanese Kappa Dec 13, 2020 14:05:45 GMT 10
Post by Wayne Smith on Dec 13, 2020 14:05:45 GMT 10
Kappa River Demon of Japan
This strange creature is thought to hold magical powers that can be used for both good and evil. Unfortunately, the Kappa prefers to use its gifts to play tricks on humans or lash out violently towards them. Though many refuse to believe in the existence of the Kappa, there are still many sightings today – especially in the countryside of Japan. In fact, locals still hang warning signs near bodies of water thought to be frequented by the Kappa.
The Kappa is said to inhabit ponds and rivers in Japan. They have the appearance of both a humanoid and reptile and are extremely cunning. Kappas have over 80 different names, though the most common are kawappa, gawappa, and kawaso. Kappa are considered to be a type of suijin (water deity) that inhabits the freshwater areas of Japan. Fond of causing mischief and even harm towards humans a Kappa’s pranks can manifest in the form of harmless jokes like making noises similar to flatulence or looking up a woman’s kimono. However, some Kappa are more violent and have been known to try to drown livestock, kidnap and eat children, and force themselves upon women.
Descriptions of Kappa vary from region to region, but most of the details are similar. Kappa are said to be about the size of a small child (never more than 5 feet tall) and have relatively small frames. In fact, the word ‘Kappa’ actually translates roughly to ‘water child.’ Their hands and feet are webbed and they are said to have amazing swimming capabilities.
Kappa also have scaly skin. Their skin color varies, but is said to come in hues of yellow, green, and blue. Kappas are said to have a humanoid figure with the shell of a tortoise on its back. Additionally, most Kappa have long, shaggy hair that is usually shaped in a bowl cut. They also have a beak for a mouth, though this doesn’t seem to interfere with their abilities to speak in human languages. Last but not least, all Kappa have a small bowl-like dent on top of their heads that holds a small pool of water called the ‘sara.’ This water is though to be the source of the Kappa’s magical powers. A Kappa must keep their sara full whenever they venture onto land or forfeit all their strength and magical powers. Without this water, a Kappa could possibly die. However, it is thought that if you refill the sara atop a Kappa’s head, they will be eternally grateful and will help you with whatever you require for the rest of your lifetime.
There are thought to be several ways to defeat or fend off a Kappa. The most common method was to use its own obsession with politeness and human tradition against it. It is said that if you encounter a Kappa, you should bow deeply to it. The Kappa will feel obligated to return the bow and will spill the water in its sara in the process, rendering it powerless. Be careful however – some Kappa have caught onto this practice and use a metal plate to protect their sara when they come ashore.
When it comes to Kappa who use a plate to protect their sara, there are other ways to ensure that they do not harm you. It is said that a Kappa’s arms can be easily detached from their bodies. If you can sneak up on a Kappa or are fast enough to grab their arm during combat and pull it off, a Kappa will promise you anything in order to have it returned. Many Japanese legends speak of heroes who overcame Kappa with this strategy and were able to obtain safety for their entire village in exchange for the returned arm.
Other ways of dealing with Kappa can be found in their love of certain foods – especially cucumbers. It is thought that cucumbers are one of the few things Kappa love more than the internal organs of young children. Many people believed that writing the names and ages of everyone in their family on pieces of sliced cucumber and throwing them into the water before bathing would ensure that no one in their family would be harmed. There is also a debate on whether eating cucumber would ensure safe passage in water. Those in certain regions believe that this will serve as protection, while others consider it to make a Kappa attack inevitable.
There are also several accounts of people being able to ward off Kappa by carrying iron, sesame, or ginger on their person.