Kappa (河童)



“Kappa means river child in Japanese. Kappa are children sized and are a mix of turtle, monkey and a lizard. They live near lakes and rivers, have a shell on their back and beaks with teeth. Types of Kappa can vary but all Kappas have a bowl on the top of their head that contains a liquid. If you make the Kappa bow and make it spill the liquid, it will lose its strength and you can beat it. Kappa really likes cucumbers so you can try to negotiate a deal for your life in exchange for the cucumber. Otherwise, it is very strong and is known to be dangerous. They rape women and attack people excreting near the river by eating their organs from the anus. Kappas will pull people into the water to kill them and drink the blood from the person dry.”




I collected this from my Japanese friend that I befriended during my times studying abroad in Shanghai, China. Kappa is significant to her and I because of me constantly saying Kappa, which is an emote available on the video game streaming site known as Twitch. It is a black and white picture of a man’s face, which represents sarcasm on the website. When I talked using the emote Kappa, my friend asked why I was constantly talking about the mythical creature Kappa. At that moment, she helped me become more cultured about Japanese traditions and I helped her become more cultured about internet traditions.




The story of Kappa warns people, especially children, to not wander around lakes and rivers. This is significant as it prevents people from drowning. Rather than telling people that they might drown if they are near the lake or river, by creating a fear towards the lake or river the drowning can be completely prevented by making sure people stay away due to fear.