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Tanuki (狸)

狸 タヌキ tanuki raccoon dog

Until recently I thought tanuki (usually rendered in katakana, タヌキ, in Japan) were a mythological creature. It turns out there are real raccoon dogs in Japan although I haven’t seen one. The renditions you see in, and in front of, shops in Japan don’t look much like the real thing though. The real thing looks pretty much like a raccoon.

My kids really liked the tanuki statues they encountered frequently in Japan. So much so that we purchased one, and it has rested on my son’s shelf at home in Oregon ever since.

During the past week Gail has posted a couple of well-crafted blog entries dealing with a part of the tanuki anatomy my kids never recognized as such. For more on tanuki 金玉 see her posts here and here.

2 Responses to “Tanuki (狸)”

  1. 1

    If you are ever in Tokyo’s Ueno area, the Ueno Zoo has a pair of tanuki. It’s really too bad that you don’t see as many around. On a side note, you should really check out the anime movie tanuki wars

  2. 2

    Thanks for the links! Joe and I just took a trip to Hagi (Yamaguchi ken) and Tsuwano (Shimane ken) and we saw many tanuki in these places.