The Kappa Legend. A Comparative Ethological Study on the Japanese Water-Spirit Kappa and Its Habit of Trying to Lure Horses into the Water.pdf

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A Comparative Ethnological Study on the Japanese Water-Spirit
Kappa and Its Habit of Trying to Lure Horses into the Water
Ishida EiichirB
CHAPTER I Horses and Water-gods
The Japanese Islands (1)-Kappa luring horses into the water (1)-Pastures
by the water-side (1)-Fine horses sired by dragons (1)-Fine horses appear out
of the water (2)--China and its borders (3)-Dragon-horses (3)pDragons turn
into horses, and horses into dragons (4)-Dragons and celestial horses (7)-
Pasturing mares by the waterside so that they may bear fine steeds (7)-Divine
horses in the water (11)-Water-gods on horseback (13)-Horses and floods (14)
-White Horse Cave (15)-Underground water (15)-Water-horses of Central
Asia (16)-Ting Pu-ling of Annarn (18)-River-gods seek to draw horses into the
water (19)-Sacrifice of horses to water-gods (20)-Importation of Chinese books
(21)-Westem and northwestern parts of China (22)-Sea-stallion (23)-The
Thousand Nights and One Night (23)-Wild males and domesticated females
(24)-The Caucasus etc. (26)-Rashi, the winged horse (26)wAnHhita (27)-
A Permian idol (27)pIslamic culture and sea-stallions (27)-Prows in the form
of horses' heads (28)-The god Varuqa (28)-The Finnic peoples (28)-NZikki,
the water-spirit (29)-The Germanic peoples (29)-Hoofs pointing backward
(30)-Odin and the Nakki (31)-Scotland (32)-Kelpies (32)-The Boobrie etc.
(32)-Iron as a charm (33)-Charms against water-spirits (34)-Ireland (35)
-Manannin9s white horse (35)-Fine steeds of ~~chulainn
Crete and Greece
(35)-St. Michael
and others (35)-The goddess Epona (36)-France (36)-The magical properties
of water (36)-Spain (37)~"Horses of the flood " (37)-Russia (37)-The mare
Rusalka (37)-Bohemia (38)wMisshapen forms and the nether world (38)-
Barks of trees have magic powers (38)-Lausitz (39)pHeadless black horses (39)
-Hungary (40)-Southern Slavs (40)-The chariot of the sun (40)-The
Greeks and the Mediterranean (40)-Poseidon, the horse-god (40)-Areion
and Pegasus (40)-Poseidon on horseback (41)-Sacrifice of horses (41)-The
earth and Poseidon (42)-Poseidon the bull-man (42)-God of the blossoming
bough (42)-Great sea-bull (43)-Miss Harrison's theory (43)-The Minotaur,
the Cretan bull (43)-Minos, the priest and king-god (*)-Egypt,
(@)-Atlantis (@)-Bull hunting and bull-fights (45)-Sacred pillars and sacri-
ficial bulls (45)-Mycenaean culture and the worship of Poseidon (45)-The sun
and Poseidon (45)-Poseidon, the foreign god (46)-The coming of horses to
Crete (46)-Libyan origin (46)-Southward movement of the horse (47)-The
rearing and worship of oxen (49)
CHAPTER I1 Oxen and Water-gods
Eduard Hahn (50)-The mystery of the moon (51)-The moon and women (51)
-The cow and the horn (52)-Religious origin of domestic animals (52)-The
wheel and the plough (52)-Nomadic sphere of culture (53)-The ox and the
horse (54)-The female principle, the moon, the ox and agriculture (55)-Figurines
of the primitive All-mother (56)-The spiral, the serpent and the moon (56)-
The Mother Earth (57)-Lunar mythology (57)-Fertility and ox-worship (57)
-The moon and water (59)-The rain-cow (60)-The moon and the water of
life (61)-The horse and the moon (62)-Horses of the sun (62)-Worship of the
sky (63)-The replacing of the ox with the horse (63)-Poseidon as earth-god
and god of agriculture (64)-The corn-spirit and the horse (64)-Water and the
ox (66)-Courtship of a water-god (66)-Sacrifice of virgins (67)-Oxen and horses
offered to water-gods (68)-Horse-headed agricultural gods (68)-North and
South (72)-The Slavs(73)-The water-man (73)-The Turks (73)-The Finno-
Ugric peoples (74)-Water-festivals, oxen and horses (74)-Master of the water
(75)-Oxen kept by water-spirits (75)-Oxen of the earth-spirit and the oxen
of wells (76)-The Germanic peoples (77)-The water-bull (77)-The Celts
(77)-The Semites(78)-" Oxen's well " (78)-The bull which bears the " sea "
(78)-Petsians (79)-White horses and river-gods (79)-Sacrifice of cows (79)
-Distribution of the water-horse legend and the Iranian peoples (80)-Sacred
urine of oxen (80)-India (81)-Pre-Aryan culture (81)-Sacrifices to the flood
demon (82)-Buffalo demon (82)-Vamna in the AHvamedha (83)-The horse and
the mysteries of Mrtyu-PrajHpati-Aivamedha (84)-Aditi (84)-The Earth-Mother
and oxen (85)-Gods of thunder and rain, and oxen and horses (85)-Indra-
Adad type of thunder-god (86)-Moon, thunder and rain (86)-The thunder-
god mounted on the bull (87)-The thunder-god as the god of fertility (87)-
Susa-no-o-no-mikoto (89)-Thunder-gods in the form of serpents (89)hChina
and herborder regions (90)-Thunder and the dragon (90)-Wicked dragons
destroyed by thunder (90)-The chiao-dragon in the form of oxen (91)-Origin
of the domestication of oxen and horses (91)-The ox-headed ShCn-nung (93)-
Water-horses and water-oxen in the Shan-hai-ching (93)-" Ox in the service
of the river-prince" (94)-An iron ox quells a river in flood (95)-Tree-spirit
in the form of a blue ox (96)-Single-homed oxen of the sacred tree (97)-Blue
oxen in the water (98)-Mongolian water-oxen (98)--Oxen and wind and rain (99)
-Golden ox and golden chain (100)-Golden ox inAnnam (102)-Hsii ChCn-chiin
imprisons an evil chiao-dragon (103)-Iron pillars and iron chains (103)-Chiao-
dragons fear iron (104)vFights with oxen in the water (104)-Li Ping and the
river-god (104)-Bull-fight and fertility rites (106)--Clay oxen and ta-ch'un (107)
-Oxen, the shd and the tsu (107)-Oxen and the megalithic culture (108)Xarp
turned into iron (108)-Stones in the earth (109)Xarp,chiao-dragons, and serpents
(110)-Stone oxen in the water (110)-Water-spirits quelled by stone rhinoceroses
(110)-Stone pillars and sacrificialoxen (111)-The earth, ancestors, sexual organs
and serpents (112)-Cutting off the heads of oxen with iron swords (112)-Dragon-
horses cum celestial horses versus river-oxen cum earth-oxen (112)eHeaven is
represented by the horse, and the earth by the ox (113)-White horse and blue
ox (113)-The Abasy of the Yakut (114)-The Japanese Islands (114)aAgri-
culture and the ox (114)-Divine oxen in the water (115)-The ox and the ceremo-
ny of praying for rain (115)-The Nakoshi festival etc. (115)-The riddle of the
kappa trying to lure horses into the water (116)
CHAPTER I11 Monkeys and Water-gods
Tortoises and snapping turtles (117)--Otters (118)-Boy water-gods (118)-
The wang-liang (119)-The shui-hu (120)-The ho-shui-kuei (120)-The shui-
yun (120)-Bowl on the head (120)-Monkeys (121)-Monkeys by the water-
side (122)-Monkeys are considered as the enemies of the kappa (122)-The
water-monster Wu Chih-ch'i (123)-Sung Wu-k'ung (125)-Monkeys, horses and
the kappa (126)-Visl;lu (126)---Gandharvas (127)-Monkeys kept in stables (128)
-Monkeys used to cure horses (128)-Monkeys are good for horses (129)-
Monkeys drive away disease (130)-Sun Wu-k'ung, the keeper of the celestial
stables (131)-The monkey ancestor of the Tibetans (131)-Chia-kuo or ma-
hua (131)-The Yang family and the Pai-ma Ti (132)-Yang Ch'ien-tu of Shu
(133)-A piece of jade carved in the form of monkeys with arms entwined (133)-
Monkeys on horseback (134)-Monkeys drawing horses (134)-Crocodiles and
the liver of monkeys (135)
Summary (135)-Fine steeds obtained by the waterside (136)-Water-gods in
the form of horses (136)-Oxen and water (136)-Ox-worship (137)-The moon,
the earth, the female principle, oxen, the power of fertility and water (137)-The
southward advance of the horse (137)-0xe~replaced by horses (138)-Western
Europe and Eastern Asia (138)-0xen and agriculture (138)-Dragon-horses
cum celestial horses versus river-oxen cum earth-oxen (139)-Continuity of the
human culture (139)--God of thunder and rain (140)-Megalithic culture (141)
-Taboo of iron (141)-The need of vision from the standpoint of world-history
Varieties of the Kappa. Facsimile of a colour-print of the late Tokugawa period.
Fig. 1 Kappa caught on the beach near Mito, Hitachi province.
Fig. 2 Horses and water combined in a Permian idol.
Fig. 3 Assyrian boat used about 700 B.C. and depicted in the palace of Sargon.
Fig. 4 Hippocampi depicted on the wall of Min-ui near Kizil, Chinese Turkestan.
Fig. 5 Celtic horse-goddess Epona, may originally b: a deity of springs or rivers,
conceived as a spirited steed.
a) From a bas-relief found at Bregenz, Tyrol.
b) From a bronze statuette found in Wiltshire.
Fig. 6 Poseidon on horseback, on a fragment of 7th century B.C. Corinthian
Fig. 7 Poseidon as bull-god, on a black figured amphora in the museum at
Fig. 8 Spirals and serpents engraved on each side of a piece of mammoth tusk,
discovered at Malta near Irkutsk.
Fig. 9 Horse-headed Oshira-sama, Hirota village, Kise-gun, Iwate prefecture.
Fig. 10 Unicorns combined with a pipal tree. A sealing from Mohenjo-Daro.
Fig. 11 She-rain with the rainbow over her. A rock-painting by the Bushmen,
from a cave under the great precipice of Klein Aasvogelkop, Rouxville
District, Orange Free State.
Fig. 12 The rain-bull, with two sorcerers who own it, a snake called kanga wai.
A rock-painting by the Bushmen, from a small cave on the banks of
the Sand Spruit, Basutoland District.
Fig. 13 Monkey holding a horse. The oldest known picture in Japan re-
presenting the association of monkeys with horses, sketched on the
lower panel of a miniature tower containing some " bones of Buddha,"
in the temple ShBmy6-ji, Kanazawa, Sagarni province, in A.D. 1296.
Preserved in the Kanazawa Bunko.
Fig. 14 Monkey drawing a horse, carved in relief on a votive picture dedicated
in A.D. 1589 to the SannB Shrine, Hikita village, Musashi province.
Fig. 15 Charms to be pasted in a stable, issued by a shrine in Kiso province.
Fig. 16 Komahiki-sen or fancy coins bearing effigies of monkeys leading horses.
Fig. 17 A charm to be pasted in a stable, issued by the oshiko shrine, Harima
Fig. 18 Monkeys mounted on horseback found in designs of northern Eurasian
nomadic peoples.
a) Pendant drop from Minussinsk.
b) Pendant drop. Site unknown.
c) Pendant drop from Yekaterinovka.
Fig. 19 Kappa from the river Chikugo-gawa, KyQshQ.
Fig. 20 Skull supposed to be that of the famous steed Surusumi, hung on a
pillar in the house of the family Kumagai, Izumitani village, Suruga
province, said to protect tlie house from fire, and heal or tame sick
or too high-spirited horses when tethered to the pillar.
Translated by Yoshida Kenichi (j$B@-) from a revised version of
the Kappa Komahiki K6 (@J~,@j~I%!$)
spelially prepared by the author
This essay, the subject of which has so little to do with war and its turmoils,
was written nevertheless during the last stages of World War 11. It was
originally begun as the author's contribution to a collection of studies in folklore
which was to be published in 1944 to commemorate the 70th birthday of Mr.
Yanagita Kunio, the foremost scholar and pioneer in the field of folklore in
Japan, but as work on the essay progressed, it became apparent that the nature
of the questions discussed in it made it too long for inclusion in the collection
of studies if the questions were to be treated at all adequately.
The author left for North China in 1944, and in the comparatively peaceful
atmosphere of Peking and Chang-chia-k'ou (Kalgan) where air-raids were
unknown, he was able to continue work on the essay more or less undisturbed.
About that time, an agreement was reached between the author and Dr.
M. Eder, the editor of Folklore Studies, published by the Catholic University
of Peking, for an English translation of the essay to appear in that journal.
The war ended, and after being repatriated with the greater number of
Japanese residents in China, the author was able somehow to give the essay
its present form during the difficult days which followed in Japan after the
war. The Japanese text was published by Chikuma Shobb Ltd. in 1948
under the title, Kappa Komahiki KG ("Kappa luring horses into the
water "). In 1949, Dr. Eder left Peking and came over to Japan. It
was then decided that he should continue to edit and publish Folklore
Studies in Tokyo, and arrangements were once more made for an English
translation of this essay to appear in its pages. The author abbreviated, or
suppressed altogether, passages in the original Japanese text which were
thought to have little importance to foreign readers, in addition to making
some necessary corrections, and entrusted the work of translation to Mr.
Yoshida Kenichi. Mr. Yoshida not being a specialist in the subject, frequent
meetings were held between the two to determine the manner of translating
technical terms and phrases, for which part of the work the responsibility
must rest with the author.
The essay having been written during the troubled days preceding and
following the end of the war, much of the material employed in it could only
be obtained from indirect sources, with the exception of that pertaining to
Eastern -Asia. Should the author be able at some later date to make use of
some of the great European and American libraries, he hopes to add a con-
siderable amount of relevant material to that already given here.
A summary of the aim and content of the present essay is given in the
concluding chapter. The questions discussed and the method of study em-
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