Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, are a celebrated art form in Japan with a long and distinguished history. But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was all serious art and depictions of beautiful things. There’s also a lot of ukiyo-e out there that’s a bit, well, weird and gross, like that one picture of the dudes farting at each other. Today, we’d like to share with you one such bizarre collection from famous artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa depicting one of Japan’s most beloved national animals, the tanuki, aka raccoon dog – notorious for having really, really huge testicles.
Tanuki, also known as Japanese raccoon dogs, hold a special place in Japanese culture. Often the center of folktales for their large testicles, magical abilities, and easygoing attitude, you can see them depicted in works of art all over the country.
However, now the tanuki is threatened. Not the actual animal, but a cake created in its image known as the tanuki cake. For many middle-aged Japanese people the mention of such a treat would awaken fond childhood memories. Despite this, the tanuki cake population in Japan has plummeted in recent years to the point of being critically endangered.
That’s why the website Tanuki Cake No Aru Toko Meguri has established the National Tanuki Cake Habitat Map, so that we may monitor and perhaps conserve these noble animal-shaped cakes.
Yuru-kyara, those lovable mascots of urban and rural districts all over Japan, have finished their annual yuru-kyara Gran Prix with Bari-San the chicken clinching a long awaited first place.
But that doesn’t mean these men and women in giant animal costumes have time to rest. No sir. Just as the last Gran Prix closed yuru-kyara it’s now time for the hundreds of mascots to begin campaigning for next year’s vote.
This brings us to Takibou, the Tanuki Monster of Shaolin Temple (not the kung-fu one) in Hachioji, Tokyo. Takibou had finished 58th place (top 6%) in 2012 and is hoping to improve on that performance. So, for the first time – probably in the world – a mascot is releasing their scent for the public to buy.