Tanuki – A to Z Blogging Challenge

Tanuki pretending to be a Rokurokubi

DISCLAIMER: Yes, those are his testicles. One of the things that Tanukis are famous for. In this image the Tanuki is impersonating a Rokurokubi.

I almost feel sorry for the kid – lost his job, accused of robbery. All at my fault, well, me and fate. Mostly fate. I didn’t mean for anything to happen. I guess I didn’t think it through, it’s too easy to get carried away, it’s like child’s play.

A speck of darkness in an otherwise glittering career.

I’ve watched humanity for years, I enter into a type of ecstasy, a trance, and I see the paw-prints of the future. It’s almost like a lucid dream, if you follow me. Everything I foresee just falls into place.

Subconsciously I started to massage my testicles into shape.

A mouth. A nose.

Carefully, carefully.

Slowly I molded the perfect imitation of a man.

The glass door slid open as I stepped under the glowing neon sign, “Hai, irashaimasen!”

I almost leapt out of my disguise, he startled me and so I simply nodded, lost for words.

Lost between worlds.

I scooped up a dozen of the ceramic jars, tottering a little under the weight of twelve liters of sake.

I winked as I squeezed each bottle onto the counter, asked for a packet of cigarettes, a smile across my face.

He turned – it’s all about the art of distraction.

Another wink, a little glamour, was all it took to transform my pouch full of leaves into a money-clip overflowing of notes.

The illusion was only temporary, and when his boss checked the banking…

Written as part of my series on Under-represented Monsters, for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The Tanuki is hardly an under-represented monster. Together with the kappa and the ___, the Tanuki is one of the most popular ‘monsters’ in Japan, a symbol of good luck and wealth (and a love for sake.) You see the little statues of him outside pubs all across Japan. The statues look like this:


He uses his testicles for many purposes, including disguises, fishing nets, a weapon…almost anything you can think of  (seriously, click the link!) I used this weeks’s BeKindRewrite prompts – Lucid DreamA Speck of Darkness, and Child’s Play. I also used the Trifecta word of the week – ecstasy.  Comments and criticism always welcome!

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14 thoughts on “Tanuki – A to Z Blogging Challenge

  1. That is a very interesting monster. o.O

    • And I forgot to include the song! Google the song “Shall We Gather at the River?” (it’s a Baptist hymn) and get the tune – then sing these lyrics:

      Tan tan Tanuki
      no kintama wa
      Kaze no nai no ni
      Bura Bura

      It’s a song sung by Japanese toddlers and schoolchildren, and it translates as “Tan Tan Tanuki’s/Testicles swing-swing even/Without any breeze.”

  2. When I lived in Japan there was a huge one of these guys in a crockery shop opposite my apartment. Got a photo of him then walked in and bought some crockery. Brought good luck as he’s supposed to with those big balls

    • Yeah I love these statues (especially the cheeky look on their faces) – and I bought mine for around $30 last week. Nothing like gigantic testicles to bring good luck! :/

      • There’s a temple I went to near Nagoya dedicated to penises too. Families take their girls to it and get them to ride a giant wooden penis so that she’ll be more fertile.

      • One of my favourite restaurants in Tokyo (Lucky 8, best Chinese food outside of China (although I hear the food there is terrible)) is covered with genitalia of both genders, including an ancient brass bell etched with a vagina, and the pendulum you swing to sound the bell is an absolutely humongous phallus. I wonder why we’re so shy about sex, but most Asian cultures aren’t? Christianity?

  3. Draug419 says:

    Ah, the tanuki 😀 Love it.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Just when I thought I’d seen it all! One of the strangest things I’ve ever read about. A little bit disturbing, but mostly just amusing. Which is saying a lot for your talent.

  5. Carrie says:

    I think that is the creepiest creature I’ve ever seen! Using testicles like that…*shudders*

  6. […] Tanuki – A to Z Blogging Challenge […]

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