Tanuki and Daruma


Daruma and the badger Tanuki 狸 たぬき

Quote by Jerry Vegder
Japanese Prints
When Bodhidarma was over 100 years old --- or, at least, that is how I remember it --- he decided to spread his gospel to China. Accounts vary. All accounts vary. One story says that he rode a reed or blade of grass all the way there while standing erect, determined, composed. Other stories said he went by ship and it took over three years. There are numerous paintings of this reed-riding event as 'proof'. Once he arrived in China his message was not well received. In time, he went to a) meditate in a cave or b) before a wall. This meditation lasted for 9 years.

Here again there are several versions of what happened during this period. In one tale Bodhidharma is said to have had difficulty staying awake. In frustration he had his eye-lids cut off and tossed aside. Nine years of such intense concentration took their toll and his arms and legs atrophied to the point of simply dropping off.

This became the origin of the roly-poly Daruma dolls which are so ubiquitous in Japanese culture. Originally they were purchased to ward off diseases such as smallpox, but in time they were metaphorically identified with other aspects of society --- in particular with prostitutes.

In fact, the term 'daruma' became a euphemism for a prostitute based on the principal that like the doll no matter how many times you knocked them down they always came right back up.

Kuniyoshi seems to have set the standard for humorous tanuki images.
Above is a detail of a group of tanuki painting the scrotum of a fellow tanuki in the likeness of Daruma.
Look carefully and you will see the tanuki which is being painted in the center of this picture.

Read a lot more details HERE
© www.printsofjapan.com: Tanuki Pages


Papermachee Doll from Shiga

© PHOTO : 百達磨


The Japanese Tanuki racoon dog,
Nyctereutes procyonoides, also called badger, is still a familiar sight in rural neighbourhoods. Sometimes families with up to 12 members come to feed in our garden, while the farmer neighburs curse at them for stealing the apples and pears and digging unwanted holes. In former times farmers caught the tanuki for a hot stew in winter (たぬ き汁) and used the fur for brushes.

Next to the fox the Tanuki is seen as a crafty animal with magical powers, but unlike the fearful fox it is quite humorous in its tricks. Maybe the most famous story about a tanuki is the Bunbuku Chagama, where a trapped tanuki is freed by a kind man and pays him back his kindness.


サントリーオールド Suntory Old Whiskey
The father of Japanese Whiskey, Mr. Torii Shinjiro, produced some brands called
TANUKI and DARUMA ダルマやタヌキ.


Temple Yashima-Ji  屋島寺
The 84th Sacred Site of Shikoku

Yashima-ji Temple at the heart of the South Plateau never fails to draw visitors. Spring and autumn bring a surge of tourists, picnickers and, of course, pilgrims.

Originally this temple was founded on the North Plateau in 754, when Priest Ganjin, a Chinese Buddhist missionary on his way from China to Nara, the old capital, landed on this island to start a temple. Now it ecisits there only as a place name, Sengen-do. In 815, it was re-established here on the South Plateau by Kobo Daishi, thus becoming part of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

The main image, an Eleven-faced Thousand-handed Kannon, 1,200 years old, is an Important Cultural Property. The Main Hall, built in the 14th century, repaired in 1959, is also on Important Cultural Property. The bell in the belfry, made in Kyoto in 1223 and dedicated here for the repose of the defeated Tairas, is another Important Cultural Property. The Temple treasures in the Museum include a folding screen depicting the "Gempei Gassen" battles.

Another popular place is Minoyama Daimyojin Shrine next to the Main Hall, bright with vermilion torii gates. It is dedicated to a legendary bald-headed raccoon dog (tanuki) named Tasaburo 太三郎狸, an attendant pet of Kannon here.

He is said to have made himself the big boss of all the raccoon dogs in Shikoku. He was unrivaled in the arts of magic. He firmly believed he was of noble stock, too, because his former master was a prince of the Taira clan.

Heike tanuki 源平狸 - 起き上がり

On a moonlit night Tasaburo would call together all his fellows on the Island to re-enact the "Gempei Battle" exactly as he had witnessed it, naturally with himself in the starring role. Now Tasaburo is a sort of ubiquitous mascot in Takamatsu.

- The Tale of the Heike (平家物語) -

- Fudo Myo-O 不動明王

source : shared on facebook

. Shikoku Henro Temple List .
. 四国お遍路さん and Fudo Myo-O 不動明王


The Bald-headed Tanuki at Jogan-ji Temple
The Full Story:
source : steve/kagawa

. Jooganji no Hage Tanuki 浄願寺の禿狸
bald Tanuki from temple Jogan-Ji .

with a papermachee figure


source : Toshitoshi Tsukioka

The badger is taking a nap and has forgotten its disguise as a priest. It can also take the shape of a tea kettle. When a monk heats the pot, it will run away as a badger. It is chased in Morin-Ji Temple and put in a box.
Then it takes the shape of a teakettle again.


Bunbuku Chagama 文福茶釜・分福茶釜, Lucky Tea Kettle Story
source : Mark Schumacher and Tanuki Lore

. Temple 茂林寺 Morin-Ji and a fox legend .

bunbuku chagama ni ke ga haeta ぶんぶく茶釜に毛が生えた
the bunbuku tea kettle sprouts hair

. kotowaza 諺 / ことわざ idioms, sayings, proverbs - ABC-List .

ぶんぶく茶釜 bunbuku - clay bell

source : blog.nihondorei.com

. otogibanashi dorei おとぎ話の土鈴
clay bells with motives of legends .

. chagama 茶釜と伝説 Legends about tea kettles, water kettles .


having a sip
with his best friend -
summer evening

. My Tanuki from Shikoku


. Tanuki 狸 Badger amulets and Talismans .

. tanuki bayashi 狸囃子 - baka bayashi 馬鹿囃子 .
a sound phenomenon,
one of the Honjo Nana Fushigi 本所七不思議 seven wonders of Honjo in Edo.


Onna Daruma 女達磨 女だるま 女ダルマDaruma as a Woman

Oiran to Daruma 花魁と達磨 <> Daruma and the Courtesans (geisha)

Hyootan, Namazu and Daruma - The Gourd, the Catfish and Daruma  瓢箪、鯰とだるま

innoo 陰嚢(いんのう)
kintama 金玉

Yōkai: Monsters, Giant Catfish, and Symbolic Representation in Popular Culture


In my garden, February 2005

I call this picture:
Five Buddhas and one Tanuki

. Tanuki as KIGO  

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 



Gabi Greve - facebook said...

Tanuki Kokeshi
on facebook

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Osaka 大阪府

Once a man visited his friend, but the friend suddenly became quite strange and pissed on him and hit him with some stones. Then suddenly a badger run away. The Tanuki had shapeshifted into his onw features and the friend did not recognize him, but saw only the animal.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sado Island Niigata
Danzaburō the Tanuki 団三郎狸 - Danzaburo-danuki

Gensuke オモヤの源助 Omoya no Gensuke from 真野町 Mano 新町 Shinmachi
Sabuto, Seki no Sabuto 関の寒戸 / 左武徒 Sabuto from Seki
Saikibo 新穂の才喜坊 / 財喜坊 Saikibo from Niibo
Zentatsu 赤泊徳和の禅達貉 Zentatsu Mujina from Tokuwa, Akadomari

Gabi Greve said...

A new article on folklore of tanuki by Anne Louise Avery

"The Japanese raccoon dog or tanuki, a shape-shifting, hedonistic and jovial trickster, has always lived in the borderlands between human settlement and the wilderness – liminal, shared spaces not quite of this world, and not quite of the other. Its complex folkloric history is also the story of the uneasy and unreconciled relationship in Japan between modernity and nature, progress and tradition."

facebook : FolkloreThursday September 27, 2018

Gabi Greve said...

Legends about the tanuki
tanuki 狸 - mujina 狢 - racoon dog, badger legends