•About this Yokai•
Bake-danuki (JP: 化け狸) are Tanuki (たぬき) that have transformed into yokai after living a long life. - Often translated into English as "Japanese raccoon-dogs" in real life, tanuki are actually much more closely related to foxes & badgers, rather than a raccoon or a dog. –
Kitsune and tanuki are frequently depicted as rivals in folk stories and pop culture, In slang "Tanuki gao" can refer to a fat, cute, chubby face (or a person's facial expression of feigned ignorance) in contrast "Kitsune gao" refers to people with narrow faces and high cheekbones (or an otherwise sneaky expression.)
In folklore: Most Tanuki, for lack of a better phrase are "country bumpkins" unlike the sly, sneaky, yet refined Kitsune, Tanuki are far more jolly & mischievous, likely to use their powers for general mischief or for their own personal amusement & gain.
Tanuki are powerful shapeshifters often transforming into other more powerful yokai [Mikoshi-Nyudo & Nopperabo are often said to be tanuki in disguise. - Inanimate objects such as Tea Kettles & Jizo statues are a couple of their other favourite disguises. - in older picture scrolls if you ever see a yokai or an item with furry legs, its likely a tanuki in disguise.] - In addition to being able to transform themselves, they're also known to be able to transform certain objects, such as pebbles into to gold, leaves into money & feces into extravagant meals, these items are an illusion and soon transform back to what they used to be.
Shiragaki Tanuki: are clay statues similar to a lawn gnome or more appropreately a maneki neko, originating from the town of shiragaki (信楽町) Dozens of these where sculpted in 1951 when the emperor showa visited – its said that The emperor was so moved by the sight, that he wrote a poem about his visit! Ever since then the clay tanuki have become immensely popular as a part of local tourism & a popular souvenir. – The statues often serve a similar function to lucky cats and are frequently seen outside of shops and diners in hopes of drumming up buisiness. [Particularly shops that sell sake!] –
Hassouengi: The Shiragaki Tanuki statues generally have 8 features known as the "hassouengi" - These 8 lucky features include... #1. The tanukis protective sun hat. #2. The tanukis attentive big eyes. #3. The tanukis winning smile. #4. the tanukis bank note (which always reads I.O.U.) #5. the tanukis big tail #6. The sake bottle. #7. The tanukis Big Belly and lastly....
#8. The Tanukis "Money Sack" & "Golden balls": artwork from the edo period frequently depicts tanuki with gigantic testicles as an allegory for wealth: in the past, goldsmiths would often use tanukis rubbery testicle pelts as a wrap in the process of hammering gold nuggets into leaf. – This is a big reason as to why testicles are often referred to as golden balls, and also why Big balls = financial luck! – Tanuki use these for transformation & have an array of other practical uses including: Blankets, Parachutes, Wardrums, Boats, Fishing nets, Target practice and Blunt weapons to name a few [see the last pic for more examples.] - A famous saying goes; while kitsune have 7 disguises, The tanuki have 8!!
see also: Kitsune, Mujina, Kama Itachi, Yokai Zine2
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo thats 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!