mythology

Web search reveals dark (and kinky) habits of beloved mythical Japanese spirit

The Kappa is generally known as a clownish, mostly friendly water spirit in Japanese mythology, but a cursory web search recently revealed the creature’s darker nature.

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Edo-period ukiyoe woodblock prints of animals and mythical beasts now available for free online

Lovers of art, history and animals are celebrating the release of an exclusive set of ukiyoe woodblock prints from 1857 that are now free to download and share online.

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Chinese illustrator sends Marvel’s Avengers to the Far East and across the sea

Many fans exercise their imagination and expand the possibilities of their fandoms with crossover fan art. We’ve seen some fantastic illustrations experimenting with art styles as well, re-imagining Game of Thrones characters in Disney animation style, and some of our favorite fairy tales revamped with a Korean twist.

Speaking of which, check out this East-meets-West mashup depicting the superheroes from the Marvel franchise as the Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology!

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What’s that emoji? Let’s take a look at Japanese culture with these texting emoticons!【Part 2】

In Part 1 of this article, we learned some fun facts about three iconic foods so beloved by the Japanese that they, yup, became icons—how an old lady and a samurai gave birth to the first rice cracker; what it means to be called a pudding-head in Japan; and how a classic 1960s manga cemented the way oden would be illustrated for decades to come.

So get ready for Part 2, in which I’ll attempt to sift through millennia of history and get you further acquainted with three more emoticons!

First we’ll look at the mythical tengu, a complex, multifaceted creature that in modern times pops up in things like Digimon and the Mega Man series. Then we’ll check out a New Year’s decoration that may have originated from taketaba, a shield made from bundled bamboo that became necessary once firearms were introduced. To close, we’ll explore the customs and lore surrounding the Tanabata festival, including the romantic legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are both star-crossed lovers and actual stars in the sky.

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