[[caption-width-right:260:In case you're wondering, those things down there aren't legs.]]

Tanuki (commonly transliterated as "tanooki") are a type of canid that lives in Asia (and now Europe), commonly referred to as 'raccoon dogs'. In Japanese mythology, tanuki are said to have magic powers such as {{shapeshifting}} (usually performed with a [[TransformationTrinket leaf on their forehead]]). Pranksters and tricksters, Tanuki spirits are generally [[BigFun fat and jolly]], like to drum on their bellies (a sound which has the Japanese onomatopoeia "ponpoko"), and are associated with good luck.

They can also cause certain... problems during localization outside of Japan due to them being characterized with ''enormous'' testicles. Another issue is their tendency to be erroneously localized as "raccoons" or "badgers," as they are close to unknown in America. These errors are less common in Europe, which has a large feral population of tanuki, and there aren't many problems localizing raccoons and badgers into Japanese media, as actual raccoons and badgers are present in Japan. [[note]]although much of the knowledge (and subsequent introduction) of raccoons in Japan may have been from the cartoon Rascal Raccoon, which became unusually popular in Japan. The titular character was adopted as a pet, but was eventually forced to release him, which many Japanese may have found out the hard way.[[/note]]

Many of the tropes that Americans associate with [[RascallyRaccoon raccoons]] also apply to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon_dog raccoon dogs]] or (in Japanese) ''tanuki''. Though raccoon dogs are canids and not true raccoons[[note]]Thus making them more closely related to dogs and foxes, which are also members of the same family[[/note]], they enjoy the same reputation in UsefulNotes/{{Japan}}ese 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.

'''The eight traits commonly associated with the tanuki:'''

* A [[NiceHat 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, representing virtue
* A big tail, providing steadiness and strength until success is achieved
* Oversized testicles (''kintama''), symbolizing financial luck; this is an exaggeration of the RealLife raccoon dog's already-large testicles
* A promissory note, representing trust or confidence
* A big belly, for bold and calm decisiveness
* A friendly smile

Tanuki are often paired with {{Kitsune}}, usually as rivals with [[WeakButSkilled less raw power and ambition but more skill at shapeshifting and trickery]] - a famous expression is "the fox has seven disguises, but the tanuki has eight". In fact the term ''kitsune-tanuki'' ([[AlternateCharacterReading pronounced "kori"]]) exists to refer to them collectively, and can also be used to mean a sly or deceptive person. Likewise the fortunetelling game [[OuijaBoard Kokkuri]] is written with the characters ''kitsune-dog-tanuki''.[[note]]Either a reference to [[EvilDetectingDog the ability of dogs to detect shapeshifters]], or to {{Tengu}} (whose name is written as "heavenly dog").[[/note]]

Tanuki are particularly associated with alcohol in Japan. This may be the result of a story in which a tanuki orders liquor using money that is actually leaves he transformed with his magic; it transforms back into leaves after the tanuki departs. Their statues often are placed outside bars.

Sometimes their large genitals are just there, but in some stories, the tanuki use them for a variety of purposes. You can see some humorous examples [[http://pinktentacle.com/2009/06/all-purpose-tanuki-testicles-prints-by-kuniyoshi/ here]], though they might not be safe for work.

The species is also becoming TheWoobie for an animal rights campaign against its slaughter in Chinese fur farms. If you want to know more, you can start [[http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/raccoon_dogs/ here]], but be warned of potential NightmareFuel.

Finally, it can be kept as a pet in some areas. See [[http://www.wasbeerhonden.nl/Pets.html this page]] for information.

Compare RascallyRaccoon, its Western Hemisphere counterpart and the source of the English-language name "raccoon dog."



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* A clan of them feature in the Creator/StudioGhibli film ''Anime/PomPoko''. The American dub calls them [[RascallyRaccoon raccoons]] (likely to make it easier to translate the numerous songs about them) and [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar refers to their testicles as "pouches"]].
* Miroku's buddy Hachi in ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}''. Shippo is sometimes referred to as a tanuki because of his shapeshifting abilities, which always prompts an angry correction that he's a ''{{kitsune}}''.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', the one-tailed beast Shukaku is an enormous demon in the form of a huge (and somewhat insane) tanuki, though it lacks the oversized testicles. His [[PowersViaPossession host]] Gaara can also create a statue of Shukaku out of sand similar to wayside statues seen in Japan. In reference to the tanuki[=/=]{{kitsune}} rivalry, Gaara is introduced as an EvilCounterpart to the kitsune-possessed Naruto. While Shukaku is much weaker than Naruto's Nine-Tailed Fox, Gaara is able to physically transform into his Tailed Beast (thus unleashing its full power) long before Naruto can do the same and without the physical injuries Naruto suffers for most of the series.
** Personality-wise, Tsunade fits the role: [[TheHedonist fun-loving]], [[HardDrinkingPartyGirl heavy-drinking]], and [[TrappedByGamblingDebts always on the run from her creditors]]. Like the tanuki, she uses her ninja magic for shape-shifting (to escape her creditors, and also [[VainSorceress for vanity reasons]], and she has some chakra stored in the seal on her forehead. (It may also be the origin of her [[BuxomIsBetter large breasts]]; sort of a DistaffCounterpart to the large testes of the tanuki.) That's about where her association with the tanuki ends, though, and [[EpilepticTrees it isn't mentioned in the series]].
* A one-episode character in ''[[Manga/EkoToIssho 090 ~Eko to Issho~]]'', which, not having ever mastered the transformation business, would hide by possessing people. LastOfHisKind. Is used to cause a ShipTease and maybe, just maybe, advance the plot.
* Ponta, the TeamPet from ''{{Anime/Raideen}}''
* Referenced in ''OnePiece'', where Tony Tony Chopper is mistaken for a Tanuki by nearly every character he encounters outside of the crew.
** Later, the samurai Kinemon has eaten a Devil Fruit that grants him the tanuki power of shapeshifting/disguising himself and other people if he/they place a leaf (or stone) on their head. It's still unknown what exactly the Devil Fruit is.
* The Tanuki from the Kincho clan in Shikoku guards the Orb of Gold in ''Manga/{{Yaiba}}''.
* A tanuki in ''Manga/HellTeacherNube'' 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.
* In ''Manga/ShamanKing'', Ponchi is a Tanuki that makes a pair with Conchi, a fox (or ''{{Kitsune}}''), which is another animal regarded with mystical powers of deception in Japanese mythology. The less said about his testicles, the better. Suffice it to say that he inverts the GroinAttack. Fitting with their mischievous sense of humor, both he and Conchi are {{Captain Ersatz}}es of WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy.
** Yoh's father, Mikihisa Asakura, has a more traditional fox/tanuki pair as his spirit allies.
* Josephine in ''Manga/SoredemoMachiWaMawatteiru'' 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.
* The Transformer Heinrad of ''Anime/BeastWarsNeo'' transforms into one of these. His corresponding toy prominently features the large testicles (he's got a clock on his stomach. The alarm bells are... lower.) which become the upper legs in robot mode.
* ''{{Franchise/Anpanman}}'' has Tanuki-Oni. Originally a villain in his debut in the Omusubiman theatrical short, he [[HeelFaceTurn switched sides]] when he was introduced in the series. His main motive is to win Batako's heart, as he has a massive crush on her. His most common transformations are a bat (that he uses for transportation outside of his mountain-side cave) and a gigantic ox-like monster (this is his main attack form). His disguises are often given away by his tail, which remains when he transforms.
* ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' has a brothel of female Tanuki [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold prostitutes]] that make various periodical appearances. [[{{Kitsune}} Tomoe]] knows them all by name and before [[PluckyGirl Nanami]] showed up, [[MrViceGuy regularly visited]] the place.
* A RunningGag in ''Manga/{{Doraemon}}'' is that people will always mistake [[RobotBuddy Doraemon]] as a tanuki when they first meet him since he doesn't have any cat ears. [[BerserkButton This is a good way to annoy him]].
* In ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun'', Maeno is obsessed with tanuki and is constantly badgering the manga authors working under him to include them in all their works. Since they're very obvious InUniverse {{Creators Pet}}s, most of the other characters hate them, to the point that the anime's opening shows Sakura and Hori violently destroying one.
* ''Manga/GugureKokkurisan'' has the tanuki {{Youkai}} Shigaraki, a prankster who drinks and gambles a lot.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' has a one-shot manga-only story early on where Yusuke and Botan encounter one who attempts to help an old man about to pass on.

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* In the Japanese localized version of ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the male newscaster for Zootopia News Network is a racoon dog named Michael Tanuyama, whose appearance is like the tanuki from Japanese folklore complete with a straw hat and a leaf on his head.

* ''Villa Incognito'' by Creator/TomRobbins has several sections about Tanukis as a TricksterArchetype and frequently mentions their giant scrotum.
* Quite a few appear in ''Literature/EightMillionGods''.
* ''Literature/TheEccentricFamily'' is a novel about a family of Tanuki living in Kyoto that has been adapted into an anime series.

* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'': Kripke allegedly draws a picture of "a 'raccoon' with an engorged scrotum" on Sheldon's survey. It was quite probably intended to be a tanuki.
* ''Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger'' had a Tanuki comic book artist as a MonsterOfTheWeek. The series calls him a Mujina (which actually refers to a badger youkai, but the name is interchangeable with "Tanuki" in some regions), but his appearance and mannerisms are very much Tanuki, complete with drumming his belly. Renamed Artistmole for Season 3 of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers''

* Tanuki are a common subject of ''warabe-uta'' (traditional songs sung to Japanese children).

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has long had the tanuki, or "raccoon dog", as one of the possible breeds of hengeyokai (basically an Asian animal-based ShapeShifter). They first appeared in the 1st Edition supplement ''Oriental Adventures'', where they were described as always evil, with enhanced strength but lower than normal wisdom. They later reappeared in 3rd edition's remake of the same sourcebook, where they lost the "Always Evil" aspect. They made their final appearance to date for 4th edition in issue #404 of Dragon, where they lost the wisdom penalty (indeed, wisdom and charisma were the "floating" ability score boosts), and finally gained a climbing speed.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'', tanuki are [[PettingZooPeople monstrous humanoids]] with the [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifter]] subtype, tend to be ChaoticNeutral, can create items from nothing, supposedly change objects into other objects, and [[BoozeBasedBuff get more powerful when]] [[DrunkenMaster they take a swig of sake]]. Also, they have a [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar slam attack that they don't need to have their paws free to use]].
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' has drum-playing baby tanuki (though the English cards call them "raccoons") named Ponpoko and Tantan.
* In ''TabletopGame/KitsuneOfFoxesAndFools'' a "Friendly Tanuki" is one of the possible ally cards. They improve the Wit trait by +3.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Tanooki Suit for Mario in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' is based on the appearance of a tanuki and named after it (though with the spelling of the name Anglicized), minus the large testicles. When Mario wears it, he has the same abilities as he does as Raccoon Mario while also being able to turn into a statue, which makes him invulnerable to enemy attacks at the cost of movement, making it so enemies pass by Mario without harming him. Since the Japanese name of "Raccoon Mario" was actually "''shippo'' [tail] Mario," it was most likely meant to be a LittleBitBeastly version of a tanuki rather than a raccoon. (For the reason given at the top of this page, it's significant that the powerup which turns Mario into this form is a leaf.)
* Of ''VideoGame/{{Pokemon}}'', Sentret and Zigzagoon are both designed after the tanuki. Sentret resembles the folklore version, with its round-tipped tail, while Zigzagoon resembles a real-life version. Sentret can spot an enemy from great distances and emits a loud cry as a warning. Though insignificant in battle, with below average statistical abilities and a small pool of moves to learn from, Zigzagoon can be useful as a party member. It is one of the few Pokémon that can have the "Pickup" ability, which will sometimes give you very rare items such as Rare Candy and PP Up, and its evolution, Linoone, can learn most HM moves, which are used to progress through otherwise [[InsurmountableWaistHeightFence insurmountable obstacles]].
* ''VideoGame/ShounenKinindenTsumuji'' features a tanuki statue made by Tsumuji's father which has all 8 traits.
* [[PunnyName Tom Nook]] from ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' is a tanuki. (The English translations officially call him a raccoon, but the obvious pun makes it clear what he ''really'' is.) Of note is the fact that all furniture items in the games (such as those that Tom Nook sells) are transformed into leaves when put in one's inventory. And, naturally, Nook's [[ChasteToons nephews]] Timmy and Tommy are also tanuki, although this is less obvious. Tanuki statues also appear.
* The ''VideoGame/KikiKaiKai'' series of CuteEmUp games features a Tanuki named Manuke (translated as Rocky the Raccoon), who was originally the FinalBoss from within the original arcade game, but has since became a playable character from within the second entry in the series. Manuke also appears as a boss in ''[[VideoGame/BubbleBobble Bubble Symphony]]''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has these youkai showing up here and there, but there are two notable ones:
** Mamizou Futatsuiwa, the BonusBoss of ''Ten Desires'', whose character is based on the tanuki FolkHero [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danzaburou-danuki Danzaburou-danuki]]. Initially hailing from Sado[[note]]a Japanese city-island known for its large tanuki population[[/note]], she decides to stay in Gensokyo after being called to defeat the FinalBoss only to discover that the player character already took care of things.
** The ExpandedUniverse manga ''Oriental Sacred Place'', chapter 11, featured an unnamed tanuki who almost successfully impersonated [[CuteWitch Marisa Kirisame]].
* Ibuki of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' and ''[[VideoGame/StreetFighterIV Super Street Fighter IV]]'' has a pet tanuki named Don.
* [[UsefulNotes/TokugawaIeyasu Ieyasu Tokugawa]] in ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' is associated with the tanuki, in contrast to his rival Mitsunari Ishida, who is associated with the {{Kitsune}}.
* In ''Sengoku Rance'', UsefulNotes/TokugawaIeyasu ''is'' a tanuki.
* The boss of the alternate fourth stage in ''Sexy VideoGame/{{Parodius}}'' is a tanuki, whose prominent kintama are a FakeWeakness. The music for the BossBattle is a medley of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the ''warabe-uta'' tune "Genkotsu-yama no Tanuki-san."
* Although not explicitly stated, Fox's trainer in the Training Mode of ''VideoGame/StarFox64'' and its UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS remake appears to be a tanuki.
* ''[[VideoGame/GanbareGoemon The Legend of the Mystical Ninja]]'' has a tanuki statue marking checkpoints between action stages. In the UsefulNotes/SuperFamicom sequel ''Ganbare Goemon 2'', the statues mark the LevelGoal, and break open to release plenty of ''koban'' coins.
* ''Comic Bakery'' has a bunch of tanuki trying to eat the bread and generally disrupt things.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ponpoko}}'' stars a hungry tanuki.
* Mamedanuki from ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei''.
* In ''VideoGame/MuramasaTheDemonBlade'', the first DLC chapter of the Vita remake has a tanuki disguised as various monsters as the second boss; [[spoiler: even the "haunted house" the fight takes place in is part of the disguise.]] After the fight, he takes on the player character Okoi, a vengeful shapeshifting cat, as a disciple.
* In ''Musya: The Classic Japanese Tale of Horror'', the first boss is a tanuki that first appears disguised as a beautiful girl and breathes fire after taking swigs of sake. The lower part of its sprite was edited for the American release.
* In ''VideoGame/TheAngryVideoGameNerdIIAssimilation'', the Nerd spends a stage riding a tanuki with "fucking flaming tanuki balls". [[GroinAttack You can smash his huge nads into enemies if you wish.]] [[InvertedTrope It kills the enemies, too!]]
* ''Tanukids'', a MazeGame released with one of Creator/{{Compile}}'s UsefulNotes/PC98 Disc Station issues, stars a father tanuki who carries around a flask of sake while [[GottaRescueThemAll rescuing the kids]] and plays his belly like a drum.