Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Tanuki ( タヌキ) is Japanese for raccoon dog, being part of Japanese folklore. The Tanuki can often be seen outside Japanese restaurants and temples, bearing a big grin, adorned with a straw hat, a sake bottle and extremely huge testicles. There are meanings physically in the anatomy and the way it is portrayed, as well the objects they carry.

From Wikipedia:

The eight traits are (1) a bamboo hat that protects against trouble, (2) big eyes to perceive the environment and help make good decisions, (3) a sake bottle that represents virtue, (4) a big tail that provides steadiness and strength until success is achieved, (5) over-sized testicles that symbolize financial luck, (6) a promissory note that represents trust, (7) a big belly that symbolizes bold decisiveness, and (8) a friendly smile.

A common schoolyard song in Japan (the tune of which can be heard in the arcade game Ponpoko and a variation of which is sung in the Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko) makes explicit reference to the tanuki's anatomy:

Tan Tan Tanuki no kintama wa,
Kaze mo nai no ni,
Bura bura
Roughly translated, this means "Tan-tan-tanuki's testicles, there isn't even any wind but still go swing-swing-swing.

Monday, November 9, 2009