Weekly Fun Facts: 5.1 reasons why Tanuki is not just your ordinary Raccoon

If you haven’t heard of the mythical Tanuki of Japan, this article might just enlighten you a little about the iconic  Japanese creature featured in many folklore and has made its way into the modern Japanese lifestyle as a precious piece of decoration.

 


 

1.    They are a special breed of animals that even researchers find it hard to classify

Although known as the “Raccoon Dog”, it is not remotely connected to the raccoons. Rather, it is closer to foxes and wolves. Even researchers suggested Tanuki to be considered a separate species from the Asian Raccoon Dog

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Source: Mother Nature Network

 


 

2.    Is the Tanuki a good creature, or a bad creature?

Historically, the Tanuki was associated with misfortune. It slowly evolved to become little “tricksters” in the Japanese history, to become the much-loved Tanuki with a lovely and cheerful face that brings prosperity to the people who owns them.

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Source: onmarkproductions.com

 


 

3.    There is even a slogan dedicated to this folklore

The station of the Shikoku Tanuki Train Line highlighted the slogan “our trains are not made of mud”, referencing a folklore whereby the rabbit befriended an evil Tanuki, and was challenged by the Tanuki to a ‘life or death’ contest to see who was better. The rabbit made his boat out of a tree trunk but the Tanuki used mud. While they were on par with each other during the first half of the race, the mud boat started dissolving in the water. The rabbit finally proclaim that it was avenging the murder of the farmer’s wife that the Tanuki killed.

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Source: web-japan.org

 


 

4.    The Tanuki was known for its shape-shifting abilities

The mythical Tanuki appeared in Studio Ghibli’s movie “Pom Poko” (1994) as the shape-shifting creatures helping to stop people from burning their habitat.

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Source: totaljapandemonium.wordpress.com

 


 

5.    People are starting to get creative with dressing the Tanuki

Some people found the statues of Tanuki a little disturbing. As such, you might start finding clothed Tanuki statues around!

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Source: wildinjapan.wordpress.com

 


 

5.1   Admit it, Tanuki looks cute!

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Source: flickriver.com

There you have it! 5.1 reasons why Tanuki is not just your ordinary raccoon