Tanuki (Japanese Raccoon Dog)

According to Japanese Folklore, the Tanuki is said to be mischievous and jolly, a master of disguise and shape-shifting, but somewhat gullible and absentminded.

TheĀ TanukiĀ has eight special traits that bring good fortune:

  • A hat to protect against trouble of bad weather
  • Big eyes to perceive the environment and help make good decisions
  • A sake bottle that represents virtue
  • A big tail that promotes steadiness and strength until success is achieved
  • An over-sized scrotum that symbolizes financial luck
  • A promissory note that represents trust or confidence
  • A big belly that symbolizes bold and calm decisiveness
  • A friendly smile

The ceramic statues available all over Japan are Shigaraki ware, a style of pottery long associated with Tanuki imagery.

Tanuki often appears in popular culture in video games, movies, and manga/anime.

Tanuki udon contains flakes of fried tempura batter (“tenkasu“), while kitsune udon contains fried tofu (“abura-age“).



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