By now, KAPPA disappeared

Iwate, Japan 06 / 01 / 2011

In Iwate prefecture,

 

There is a place called Toono which is famous for KAPPA.

 

KAPPA are legendary creatures, red or green, wearing something looking like a plate on their head, they are something close to water ghosts in Japanese folklore.

 

Once upon a time when there was famine almost every year there was a custom to abandon the elderly to the mountains to reduce the mouths to feed in a family. At times even children were forced to death. If a child was brought to a mountain though,

it would cry or follow its family back home. For many it was hard to murder their children in this way,

so they would bring them to rivers and lakes to drown them in the water. Some of them would survive and search for food.

“This is why during the old times you would eventually see a wild child close to the rivers” says a local in Toono.

Little girls had long, lose hair and would look like KAPPA in this way.

By now, KAPPA disappeared.

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** The people of Tono say that the Kappa are gods. However, one day I met a taxi driver who told me that this story was about abandoning children, namely reducing the number of mouths a family needed to feed. “This area here was very poor“ he said. A hungry child stole a cucumber, washed it in the river and ate it. This is why in Japan the Kappa are known to eat cucumber.

岩手県にはカッパで有名な遠野という場所があります。
かっぱとは、赤や緑をした伝説の生き物で、頭に皿のようなものをかぶっており、日本の民間伝承では水のお化けに近いものです。

ある日、タクシーの運転手に会ったとき、河童の話は子供を捨てること、つまり一家が養うべき"口減らし"のことだと教えてくれた。

"ここの地域はとても貧しかった "と彼は言った。

お腹を空かせた子供がキュウリを盗み、川で洗って食べた。日本で河童がキュウリを食べることで知られているのはこのためだとか。

その昔、毎年のように飢饉が起こっていた頃、一家の口減らしのために年寄りを山に捨てる習慣があった。

時には子供までもが死に追いやられた。子供が山に連れて行かれると 山に連れてこられた子供は、泣いてしまうか、家族に付いて帰ってしまう。多くの人にとって、このような形で子供を殺すのは辛いことでした。
そこで、川や湖に連れて行って水に沈めてしまうのです。中には生き残って食べ物を探すものもいたという。
「だから、昔は川の近くで野生の子供を見かけることがあったんだよ」と遠野の人は言う。
小さな女の子は髪の毛が長くて抜けていて、まるでカッパのようだったという。

そのうち、カッパは姿を消してしまったとか。。

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