Created By: Twentington on July 4, 2011


Portrayals of the Japanese canid in fiction.

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Needs more examples.

Many of the tropes that Americans associate with raccoons also apply to raccoon dogs or (in Japanese) tanuki. Though raccoon dogs are canids and not true raccoons, they enjoy the same reputation in Japanese Folklore that true raccoons share in the Western Hemisphere -- both this and their superficial resemblance to raccoons are the reasons this animal is called "raccoon dog" in English.

There are eight traits commonly associated with the tanuki. According to The Other Wiki, they are "a hat to be ready to protect against trouble or bad weather; big eyes to perceive the environment and help make good decisions; a sake bottle that represents virtue; a big tail that provides steadiness and strength until success is achieved; [[over-sized testicles that symbolize financial luck; a promissory note that represents trust or confidence; a big belly that symbolises bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile." And that testicles thing? It's an exaggeration of a trait that is Truth in Television to the raccoon dog.

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Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • July 4, 2011
    • Zigzagoon from Pokemon is based off of the Tanuki.
  • July 4, 2011
  • July 4, 2011
    This is already a section under Yokai, though you could always do a split.
  • July 4, 2011
    And there's already talk of a split in the Trope Repair Shop thread for it.
  • July 4, 2011
    Kitsune article mentions that tanuki and kitsune are common Animal Motifs in Japan. Maybe worth mentioning?
  • July 5, 2011
    Villa Incognita by Tom Robbins has several sections about Tanukis as a Trickster Archetype and frequently mentions their giant scrotum.
  • July 5, 2011
    [Something was posted here, but I think it was for the wrong trope.]
  • July 5, 2011

    • Early unnamed example in the Yu Yu Hakusho manga.
    • The Tanooki Suit for Mario in Super Mario Bros 3
    • A clan of them feature in the Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko.
    • Miroku's buddy Hachi in Inuyasha.
    • The Transformer Heinrad of Beast Wars Neo transforms into one of these. His corresponding toy prominently features the large testicles. which become the upper legs in robot mode.
    • In Naruto, the one-tailed beast Shukaku is one.
    • Tom Nook of Animal Crossing.
    • A one-episode character in 090-Eko To Issho, which, not having ever mastered the transformation business, would hide by possessing people. Last Of His Kind. Is used to cause a Ship Tease and maybe, just maybe, advance the plot.
    • Of Pokemon, Zigzagoon is one in Japan. It's special on the list for being insignificant as a Pok√©mon, with below average statistical abilities, a normal type, and a small pool of moves to learn from.
    • Ponta, the Team Pet from Raideen
    • Referenced in One Piece, where Tony Tony Chopper is mistaken for a Tanuki by nearly every character he encounters outside of the crew.
    • The Kiki Kai Kai series of Cute Em Up games (beginning with the second entry in the series) feature a Tanuki as a player character.
    • The Tanuki from the Kincho clan in Shikoku guards the Orb of Gold in Yaiba.
    • A tanuki in Hell Teacher Nube once started impersonating him, not out of mischief, but simply because it was a regular animal possessed by a trickster spirit. Unfortunately for Nube, it was very fond of wreaking havoc across town, up to and including streaking the school and giving Miss Ritsuko an up-close and personal encounter with a tanuki's pride and joy... while still in Nube's shape.
  • July 5, 2011
    Josephine in Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru is actually Hotori's dog, but she looks very much like a Tanuki. After her friends make fun the similarity, Hotori has a dream where Josephine informs her that since she's apparently a Tanuki, she's leaving the family to instead live among the other Tanuki's in the mountains.
  • July 5, 2011
    @ Twentington-I already mentioned Zigzagoon.
  • July 6, 2011
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures. The raccoon dog is a subtype of hengeyokai (basically an Asian animal-based Shape Shifter). They are always evil. They have enhanced strength but lower than normal wisdom.