Kappa (JP: 河童) - [Yokai/UMA]
• About this Yokai: Kappa are strange little water imps that go by many names and appearances across Japanese folklore - Along side other greats such as the Tengu, Kitsune, Tanuki & Oni, Kappa are among the best known Yokai, its said that there is a unique variation of kappa in every prefecture across Japan! - Their names, Lore and appearances vary depending the region: They live close to lakes & rivers & will pray on children that get too close: as such these days they're popularly used on "DANGER: don't swim here signs" & drowning victims are often said to be (metaphorically) victims of kappa attacks. although they generally appear something like a turtle, they vary greatly in appearance, some kappa might not even look similar to what you might recognize as a 'kappa'
Your standard Kappa's favourite snack is said to be cucumbers (That's the reason why cucumber rolls: kappa maki, are named as they are.) – its a common luck charm to carve your family name onto a cucumber and throw it into the water before swimming, just to be safe. The kappa will appreciate the gift.
Kappa are very adept At sumo wrestling (but their arms apparently come off very easily!!!) if you bow to a kappa, they will be compelled to bow back! (its only polite) but If a kappas head dish becomes dry, they won't be able to move.
• Shirikodama: (JP: 尻子玉) - Kappa are known to be fixated on a mysterious spirit orb called a "shirikodama" (Literally "butt ball") which is apparently located near inside the human anus behind the liver. – what they do with the orb changes frequently, its often said to be their favourite snack, a way to gain power, or as an offering to ryujin (the dragon god of the sea.) ...Ironically, kappa actually cannot stand the smell of human flatulence, so if one ever gets too close to you, Fart. Fart like crazy and they'll leave you alone. – Or set up a trap with an arrow like so:
[kappa trap. one person is...bait. while the other waits with a bow and arrow (image source)]
It's sometimes also said that some Kappa have 3 anuses and are better at expelling gas than any human. – The expression/figure of speech "Henokappa" or "Kappa no He" meaning "the gas of a kappa" (JP: へのカッパ , 河童の屁) is used somewhat like"Easy Breezy" or "Piece of Cake."
its often said that kappa migrate to the mountains when the seasons change [see yamawaro] there are several different kinds of yokai that are thought to be migratory versions of kappa.
a woodblock reprint listing 12 different kappa. - The [河童聞合] is a scroll which recorded Edo period (1603-1868) kappa sightings from the Hita region of Bungo (southern Japan) in detail.
• Cryptid/UMA?: Although Kappa are largely considered to be the stuff of folklore, kappa sightings do still happen on occasion today.
• Pop culture: Alongside Oni, Tengu, Kitsune, Bakeneko and Tanuki, kappa are among the most Popular & recognized creatures in Japanese folklore, there are far too many pop culture appearances to list!!
• See also: kappa variants for many more!