Meet our mascot Tanuki! A real life animal that plays a significant role in Japanese folk lore as a trickster, shapeshifter, and bringer of spiritual and fiscal prosperity. A glutton of all things delicious and fun, Tanukis are forest spirits with a zest for life!
The earliest mention of these mischievous creatures comes from the the Nihongi, the second oldest book of classical Japanese history written in 720 AD. You might know them better from modern popular adaptations such as the Studio Ghibli film "Pom Poko", or a variety of Nintendo games like "Animal Crossing" and "Super Mario Bro's 3".
Tanuki's are known for playing good spirited pranks on humans, their love of sake and eating good food, and general playfulness. Always down for a good time, they are the embodiment of everything we love about Japanese food and culture.
Distinguishing traits of Tanuki:
1. Tanukis wear wide brimmed hats to protect from bad weather and misfortune.
2. Tanukis are almost always depicted in modern times holding a bottle of sake, a sign of their virtue, hospitality and willingness to party.
3. Carrying a promissory note to indicate both trustworthiness and mischief (Tanukis will often pay their debts with shape shifting piles of leaves)
4. Large open eyes to survey the world and signify their curiosity.
5. Large bushy tails used to demonstrate strength and agility.
6. Modern tanuki statues almost always have large belly's showing their love of food but also representing tranquility and decisiveness.
7. Mischievous smile, a playful invitation.
8. ***PARENTAL DISCLAIMER** Tanuki's have long been depicted as having large scrotum/testicles which they use for a variety of shape-shifting applications including: parachuting, boat sails, drums, raincoats, and more! Please Google ;)