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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.


** 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.



"ここの地域はとても貧しかった "と彼は言った。



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。


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