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Kappa are typically depicted as roughly humanoid in form, and about the size of a child. Their scaly, reptilian skin ranges in color from green to yellow or blue. Kappa supposedly inhabit the ponds and rivers of Japan and have various features to aid them in this environment, such as webbed hands and feet. They are sometimes said to smell like fish, and they can certainly swim like them.
Although their appearance varies from region to region, the most consistent features are a carapace, a beak for a mouth, and a plate which is a flat hairless region on top of their head that is always wet, and which is regarded as the source of their power. This cavity must be full whenever a kappa is away from the water; if it ever dries, the kappa will lose its power, and may even die, according to some legends.
Another notable feature in some stories, is that the kappa's arms are said to be connected to each other through the torso and able to slide from one side to the other While they are primarily water creatures, they do on occasion venture on to land. When they do, the plate can be covered with a metal cap for protection
A similar weakness of the kappa in some tales are their arms, which can be easily pulled from their body. If their arm is detached, they will perform favors or share knowledge in exchange for its return. Once the kappa is in possession of its arm it can then be reattached
Kappa are not entirely antagonistic to humankind, however. They are curious of human civilization, and they can understand and speak Japanese. They may even befriend human beings in exchange for gifts and offerings, especially cucumbers, the only food kappa are known to enjoy more than human children
Once befriended, kappa have been known to perform any number of tasks for human beings, such as helping farmers irrigate their land. Sometimes, they will bring the occasional gift of fresh fish, which is regarded as a mark of good fortune for the family that receives it.
They are also highly knowledgeable of medicine, and legend states that they taught the art of bone setting to humankind.Due to these benevolent aspects, some shrines are dedicated to the worship of particularly helpful kappa. There were also festivals meant to placate the kappa in hopes of receiving a good harvest, some of which still take place today
originally posted by: Kantzveldt
There are remarkable similarities in terms of style between the earliest Vinca figurines of SE Europe and those of the Jomon...
originally posted by: Kantzveldtmost seen here are of the Middle to Late period from which their association with pots and portals takes on more emphasis.
The Japanese giant salamander has been the subject of legend and artwork in Japan, for example, in the ukiyo-e work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. The well-known Japanese mythological creature known as the kappa may be inspired by the Japanese giant salamander.
At around 11 PM on August 1, 1984 in the town of Tsushima in Nagasaki prefecture, a squid fisherman named Ryu Shirozaki was walking home from the local pier after work. As he passed near the Kuta river, he came upon a small group of children playing at the water’s edge. While it was not entirely uncommon to encounter people fishing in the river at night, it was rather surprising to see youngsters there.
As Shirozaki approached the children, he was struck by how bizarre they appeared in the moonlight. He could make out swarthy faces, unusually spindly arms and legs, and glistening skin. Suspicious, Shirozaki called out to them as he neared, but they seemed startled and quickly disappeared into the water.
Running at a high rate of speed, the Lizard Man was coming straight for the startled motorist. Davis ran to the driver's door, managed to get in the car, and locked the door just as the creature reached him. It tore and clawed at the mirror, the door handle and the window. It then jumped onto the roof of the car and began to claw and scratch at the roof and the front windshield. Davis, overcoming some of the initial shock at seeing a giant human-like lizard, started the car and drove off. He swerved to shake loose the creature.