--to make any of these mistakes are THE MOST SERIOUS TANUKI CRIMES!!!
in a nutshell: It's just a modern-day figure of speech for a tanuki fanatic who takes the topic a bit too seriously. However, In their defence... (allow me to elaborate in a similar unhinged manner...)
• A Few Tanuki Facts •
Tanuki ARE NOT raccoons!! They aren't even related!!!Tanuki are of the canid family & as such are much more closely related to foxes & wolves (Like dogs, they have similar paw prints and even sniff each other's butts!!!) – The main similarity & reason for this mistake is their "face masks" - and since they're often translated as "raccoon dogs" it leads to a lot of cross-cultural confusion. – Unlike Tanuki: Raccoons are native to North America & Canada. - 'Raccoon dogs' are native to Japan and some parts of China, Tanuki are also an invasive species in Russia & some parts of Europe! – Tanuki tails are decidedly not striped, the stripe is largely a product of anime & cartoons, (it is usually a stylistic choice.) The origin of the confusion: is largely thanks to pop culture!!!
- Some classic examples of famous pop-culture Tanuki mislabeling. •
- Mario has worn a 'Tanooki suit' since (SMB3, 1988.) which was often translated as the 'raccoon suit' in guide books & official media.
- Studio Ghibli's Movie: Pompoko (1994.) also chose to translate "tanuki" as "raccoon" perhaps in an attempt to be more relatable to American audiences: unfortunately this just caused even more confusion abroad!
- in Animal Crossing (2001) Tom Nook is often labelled as a raccoon. (despite having a tanuki pun-name.)
These series are so popular, that today, the grand majority of the population & those who only care to learn about tanuki/raccoon dogs at a base level of understanding – continue to make this error! Much to the disamusement of tanuki fans!! – as such there are several dedicated Twitter accounts & blogs (in both English and Japanese) which are dedicated to listing popculture mistakes or clearing up this discrepancy specifically!
As a tanuki, I feel it is important to keep in mind that (folklore wise) tanuki are also very powerful shapeshifters & tricksters: so each time you see a Tanuki illustrated with a striped tail; it's far more likely that the Tanuki in question is fully aware of what it is doing. --Perhaps it's even making fun of you, or has transformed, purposefully trying to trick others into thinking that it's a raccoon!! -(I cannot think of a more perfect crime than hiding in plain sight!!!)- we aren't as dopey as you might think!!
--Uh I mean... What!?!--
--I digress...it's fairly silly to take this topic overly seriously and it is not at all a crime to make these cultural mistakes--nor is it particularly in bad taste to correct people when discussing the topic. -However, there are some people out there who certainly take it too far and can be pretty rude about it!!
Similar to this: there are also the "Kimono Police" old ladies (aged 40-60) who go around correcting people's kimonos obsessively!!
..this yokai is not to be mistaken with Keitakun the literal tanuki-cop mascot for Shiga prefectures police force!
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo, that's me!!) - Part of my Night parade of 100 Demons - Yokai & Japanese folklore sticker collection, weather-resistant 4" Glossy sticker. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more!
• See also: my other posts about tanuki!