Kappa ("river-child"), alternately called Gatar ("river-boy") or Kawako ("river-child"), is a type of aquatic yokai or water deity that inhabits the rivers in rural Japan.
Although the kappa is a formidable creature, it is incongruously small, usually no bigger than a human child. It might have a bird-like beak or a pointed mouth, but sometimes it has a face like a monkey instead. It often sports a tortoise's shell on its back, and its slippery skin is usually depicted as being green,although it is said it can also be blue or yellow as well.The most notable feature of the kappa, however, is the water-filled depression atop its head. These cavities are surrounded by scraggly hair, and this type of bobbed hair style is named okappa-atama for the creatures. The kappa's limbs are long and sometimes stretchy, and its elongated fingers and toes are webbed like a duck's or frog's, giving it remarkable powers of swimming. The expression kappa-no-kawa-nagare ("a kappa drowning in a river") conveys the idea that even experts make mistakes. The creature itself is also notorious for its fishy stink and its flatulence is known to be particularly noxious, the kappa often use gas in self defense when caught by fishermen. It is sometimes thought to have three anuses with which to expell these fumes
The kappa derives its incredible strength from this strange depression atop its skull containing a magical elixir that gives it both strength and life. If attacked by a malovelant Kappa, all one must do to halt a Kappa's assault is to give a polite bow in its direction. The kappa possesses a deep sense of etiquette, and will be forced to return a deep bow, even if it means losing its head-water in the process. Once depleted, the kappa is seriously weakened and may even die. Other tales say that this water allows kappa to move about on land, and once emptied, the creatures are immobilized. Stubborn children are encouraged to follow the custom of bowing on the grounds that it is a defense against kappa. In addition, the Japanese Folklore says that the kappa is a master of Koppo; the bone-breaking technique, which was actually invented by them.
Kappa are mischievous troublemakers. Their pranks range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly passing gas or looking up women's kimonos, to the more troublesome, such as stealing crops, kidnapping children, or raping women. In fact, small children are one of the gluttonous kappa's favorite meals, though they will eat adults as well. They feed on these hapless victims by sucking out the shirikodama (a fabled ball found near the anus or entrails, blood, liver, or "life force", depending on the legend) through the anus.
Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages. Kappa are also said to be afraid of fire, and some villages hold fireworks festivals each year to scare the spirits away.Folklore often states that
Kappa are not entirely antagonistic to mankind, however. They are curious of human civilization, and they can understand and speak Japanese (after living a thousand years accodring to some tales). They thus sometimes challenge those they encounter to various tests of skill, such as shogi or sumo wrestling. They may even befriend human beings in exchange for gifts and offerings, especially cucumbers, the only food kappa are known to enjoy more than human children. Japanese parents sometimes write the names of their children (or themselves) on cucumbers and toss them into kappa-infested waters in order to mollify the creatures and allow the family to bathe. Yet another way of winning a Kappa's friendship is to offer it some fresh cucumber sushi rolls, the one thing it loves to eat more than little children. There is even a kind of cucumber-filled sushi roll named for the kappa, the kappamaki. This affinity may have its origins in a custom of floating the year's first crop of cucumbers and eggplants (which kappa are also said to favor) into the local river in order to appease water gods and hungry ghosts.
Once befriended, kappa have been known to perform any number of tasks for human beings, such as helping farmers irrigate their land. They are also highly knowledgeable of medicine, and legend states that they taught the art of bone setting to mankind. Farmers and tillers of the soil are in awe of it as well, venerating the Kappa for its unfalteringness in guarding important sources of water from defilement. To this day, shrines and temples dedicated to the worship of a Kappa deity can be found in the rural hamlets and villages of Japan. Kappa may also be tricked into helping people. Their deep sense of decorum will not allow them to break an oath, for example, so if a human being can dupe a kappa into promising to help him, the kappa has no choice but to follow through. In a similar way, if someone were to ever trap a Kappa and then release it on condition that it never harms another human being, it will honor its pledge for the rest of its existence.
I sculpted his head from Air-dry clay over a CTVT Repro Astronaut head(I cut a hole in the head and packed with tin foil glued in withE-6000,then painted with aqua paint and then covered with E-6000 to give the hole the appearance of being filled with water,just like I did for #2).For his body I used a CTVT Teen body which I dyed green with rit fabric dye.I sculpted the hands,feet,and shell from air-dry clay.I sculpted his cucumber accessory from air dry clay as well.I painted the entire figure with acrylics and sealed with ModPodge.I made his grass skirt from twine rope.