Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sexy Kappa?


The Kappa, Japanese water imp, does on occasion behave kindly to humans, but mostly it is a malevolent creature, so it is not surprising that traditional representations of it portray it as a rather vicious-looking animal, as in these pictures at the excellent Onmark site.

Contemporary representations of Kappa however tend to portray it as "kawaii", cute, cartoon-like, childish. I have yet to read a convincing explanation as to why contemporary Japanese culture is obsessed with kawaii, but if anyone knows of any I would like to hear it. A few examples can be found here

But there is another representation that is found nowadays, that of the sexy female kappa.

The above design is found on vending machines for Kizakura brand sake, and she is certainly well-endowed.


This one, also amply-endowed, is on a bridge in the village of Izuha up in the mountains near here. The statue commemorates an annual race held here, the Suichu Kappa Ekiden, which is a "road race" that takes place in the river.


  1. Strange question about something that is so obvious that it struck me immediately when I set foot in Japan.
    Japanese are brought up to see the nation as the important thing in life, and not any individuality of their own. They have that notion beaten into them everywhere from the beginning of their life without exception, that they all end up functioing perfectly within the system. Having dared to elect a differnet party into power against the will of the 50 year long ruling authority, was an act totally unheard of in Japan.
    If you are a dependent by profession, which is what the japanese conditioning will do to everyone, naturally you remain childish and infantile, a follower. kawaii is something that promises familiarity AND absence of authority,. No threat, something even a japanese can be in control of, something that will contrast the day to day fascist life-style....

    Prof Volland, Kanagawa

  2. Thanks Prof :) I pretty much agree with you but would probably frame my answer a little different :)

  3. I have seen too many things in too many countries I have lived. So I am no nice person.... :-)

  4. mmmm, that was something I did not know, which is the main reason why I enjoyed this post so much, I mean, that's what I always look for when I read a blog, to learn things!

  5. Very interesting comments.
    The links are superb