In Japanese folklore, there’s an interesting kind of river monster known as a kappa. Kappa literally means “river child” in Japanese. They do resemble kids, but their skin is green. What further distinguishes them from a normal child is their unnerving round eyes, a nose that’s way longer than normal, webbed fingers and toes, as well as turtle shells on their backs. But the craziest part of this monster’s appearance is a dent on the top of their head that goes deep enough to hold water like a bowl. Oh, and they have a gross fish smell to them, basically across the board.
The water that sits inside their head dent is extremely important to a kappa. In fact, the water in their head bowl is representative of the monster’s power, and can actually be used against it if confronted by one. Kappa have an obsession with following ritual and courtesy. So, bowing to a kappa can cause it to reactively bow back out of respect, which will cause it to spill its water from the head bowl. This will basically render the monster harmless for the time being since its lost its sense of power.
It is unwise to underestimate a kappa’s physical prowess
For the most part, a kappa will be content to stay in its watery home. This is where it does the majority of its hunting and feeding. They’ll wait under the waters, patiently stalking for prey. When a suitable victim comes around to drink from the water, the kappa will reach out and grab it, pulling the victim under the water. As the victim drowns, the kappa will bite with their razor-sharp teeth right into the victim’s anus and vampirically suck out its blood for sustenance.
A kappa is pretty physically imposing. They’re really strong and skilled martial artists in sumo wrestling. So straight up physically fighting one without a weapon is kinda suicidal, and should be avoided. But, even though they are brutal fighters, they’re actually talented healers as well. Being excellent at the art of bonesetting, and many medicinal skills.
Kappa are not ALWAYS monstrous though
Kappa are one of the few vampiric monsters that enjoy normal types of food. Well, obsession would be more accurate, because they have a MASSIVE cucumber fetish. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. If they’re in danger, if they’re out for prey, or even if they’re attacking people; whatever a kappa is doing they will immediately stop if they notice a cucumber in the vicinity. They’ll do whatever it takes to steal away a cucumber whenever the opportunity presents itself. So if one knows they are journeying near a place where kappa are known to inhabit, keeping a cucumber on hand can be the difference between life and death.
Cucumbers also have a magical protective use with kappa. One can write their last name on a cucumber and give it to a kappa as a gift. This is a powerful boon because it will not only protect the person who offered the cucumber, but that person’s whole family will be protected from kappa attacks as well. Though the protection does only last for a limited amount of time. So make sure you keep on giving cucumbers to kappa as offerings.
Never trust a kappa unless you got a cucumber or are respectful and love tradition
Though kappa are dangerous vampiric monsters capable of casually committing horrendous crimes, they’re not pure evil, or mindlessly destructive and malevolent. Kappa are intelligent and can be pretty cultured. For example, a kappa can actually be pretty respectful and courteous. They’re also trustworthy and honorable monsters with a strong sense of dignity. They have a lot of reverence for tradition and those who also respect it. A kappa can even be reasonable or bargained with. Such as instead of killing someone outright, they can be challenged to a wrestling match, or some test of wits, where they’ll only kill their victim if they lose. Kappas are even pretty willing to enter into mutually beneficial agreements such as avoiding certain places and not attacking people if their demands are met. They’ll usually be willing to avoid all kinds of mischievous behavior for a steady supply of cucumbers.
Moral of the story? Always carry cucumbers on you around water in Japan to avoid butt-hole vampires…