Kappas are mischievous, legendary creatures, water-type sprites found in Japanese folklore. In medieval Japan, this humanoid creatures were believed to dwell in lakes, rivers and swampy areas. Drownings and child kidnapping were attributed to this creature.


Their mischievous acts range from stealing crops to kidnapping and eating children. Though they’re fondest of cucumber and enjoy sumo. Japanese people bribed them with a cucumber and they promised almost anything. Once a promise was made they were honor-bound to keep it. Kappa use to threaten women, to point of even assaulting and raping them. Various times this evil events resulted in the attacked woman becoming impregnated, giving birth to repulsive yaller. Kappa are said to be very intelligent, being knowledgeable in medicine and able to speak Japanese. If befriended they’re very loyal and will never go against their word.


A hair-covered variation of a Kappa is called a Hyōsube.


In appearance Kappa’s look like frogs or monkeys the size of a human child. They are usually green in color, but also different colored variations were known to exist. Their eyes were triangular and elongated. They’ve been depicted with ether apelike faces or tortoise beaks, and sport shells and scaly skin. Kappa have a bowl-like depression on top of their head filled with water which is their power source.

Accounts and Records

Kappa 4 multiple

Several depictions of a Kappa

The picture on the right shows a kappa that was caught in a net in Mito, Japan in 1801. This kappa had a turtle-like chest, a crooked back and three anuses. The middle picture above shows a humanoid kappa with no shell. The kappa on the left of the picture, sketched by Ito Chobei, was captured during the Meiwa period (1764 to 1772) in Edo, somewhere in present-day Tokyo's Edogawa ward. When the creature was shown to Ota Chogen, he identified it as a kappa. Ota happened to have a kappa sketch with him that showed a creature with similar features. According to the text in the book, this kappa measured 60 cm (2 ft) tall and had slippery skin like that of a catfish. A kappa that was observed in one of the moats around Edo castle in the late 18th century. Another was observed in the early 17th century in what is now the city of Hita in Oita prefecture. This turtle-like kappa appears as been in its hind legs, webbed fingers, and splotches on its chest and abdomen.

Real Life References

Kappa legends are possibly based on the Japanese giant salamander, also known as hansaki.

See Also

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