Kappa Picture

(Art ©2011 Sarah René Straub. Do not copy or use without my permission.)
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The kappa (or "river-child") is a yōkai (part of a classification of supernatural monsters) in Japanese folklore. These scaly and web-handed creatures are said to inhabit the rivers and ponds of Japan. While descriptions of them vary, they are commonly described as having a beak-like mouth and a hollow, bowl-like cavity in their head that always carries with them a bubble of water, regarded as the source of their power. Legend states that if you can trick a kappa into bowing before you, thus spilling the contents of its head, it will be defeated.

Because more modern depictions of the kappa tend to portray the playful side of their nature in a cute way, I wanted to capture the more malevolent side, for the kappa were believed to kidnap children who misbehaved and drag men and women to their watery deaths.

Continue Reading: The Myths