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SUPERNATURAL WORLD IN JAPAN: Animal with Supernatural Powers

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2015 by Kanya Puspokusumo


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According to legend, certain animal are created with supernatural powers. They can transform themselves into anything they desire, and can even acquire other magical abilities. The Japanese raccoon (tanuki) and the fox (kitsune) are the most popular animal attributed with magical powers. They have similar roles in folklore. They are pictured as mischievous rogues who often get themselves into trouble. They can, at times, be frightening creatures, and at other moments be capable of making a negative situation positive. Sometimes they are treated as godly figures and become cultural heroes.

The ‘tanuki’ is sometimes seen as a witch, a cannibal monk, or a one-eyed demon who murders his victims with thunder, lightning or earthquakes. It is depicted as a small hairy animal, and it is believed that he can transform into a frightening creature. Sometimes, it can appear as a Buddhist monk dressed in robes as well. Continue reading

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