Tanuki, Cheerful Raccoon Dog

This, friends, is a tanuki1, a real animal that I believe doesn’t exist outside of Japan which is usually translated as raccoon dog. They long ago entered folklore as jolly, but mischievous shapeshifters. You often find these statues… well, everywhere. This one was outside of a bar. They almost always have a turtle shell hat pushed back and a bottle of sake in one hand.

Oh, and giant balls. As seen here. Might seem a bit strange to us in the West, to say the least, but traditionally Japanese culture wasn’t quite as uptight as we are. Wikipedia tells us that the real animal has unusually large balls, so whenever they started making tanuki statues, they just decided to emphases that feature. If you think that is crazy, you should see how else they are shown in pop culture. Go rent Studio Ghibi’s Pom Poko sometime.

I was searching YouTube for some Pom Poko clips to point you towards. Couldn’t find any good ones. But here is a crazy Japanese commercial that uses the stereotypical tanuki huge balls to a comic effect.

(They are talking about apartments. Everything—your dreams, your hopes, even your chest—will get bigger with their serviced apartments. Or, as the tanuki shows, other places. Japanese humour. Pretend and laugh anyways.)

Related: If you want more Japanese craziness, go read about the Penis Festival. No, nothing to do with porn. A very real yearly festival for all ages. Oh, Japan…


  1. Tah-neu-key 


Publishing this website is my full-time job. If you enjoyed this article or photo, please consider supporting the site by becoming a member. There are some great perks. Read more.