In Japanese folklore, one of the most recognized yokai is the Kappa. Legends described this entity with the face of a monkey with the beak of a turtle and the top of his head has a plate-shaped depression. The Kappa has green, reptilian skin and often has a turtle shell on his back. Many myths mention this yokai has webbed hands and feet along with the ability to elongate its arms and legs
Kappas are usually depicted as malicious tricksters that delight in tormenting humans. They would play pranks such as delivering loud, smelly farts, make haunting sounds, peek up women’s dresses or frightening unsuspecting travels. However, they have also been known to carry out darker antics such as kidnapping small children, causing pain and injury and even killing people to eat their internal organs.
In folklore, the Kappa lurks underwater in rivers and streams, waiting for its victims. In days before indoor plumbing, people would squat by the side of a riverbank to relieve themselves . The yokai would swim underneath the person , until it could see that bare behind hanging over the side of the brink and then attack. In some legends, the Kappa grabs its victim from the buttock and dragged into the water, holding them under the surface until they drowned. At other myths, the yokai put his stretched arm up the anus, up through the insides until it grabbed hold of the person’s tongue. Then the Kappa pulls the tongue out through the anus, turning its victim body inside-out with the skin on the inside and internal organs on the outside, where it can dine upon the liver, kidneys, and so on. A few tales mention how the Kappa consumes a human’s soul by tearing out through one’s anus.
As with many yokai folklore, there are ways one can protect themselves from these supernatural entities. In warding off the Kappa, one can carry iron, ginger or sesame. Another suggestion is tossing cucumbers into the river as an offering to the yokai in hopes to appease them and be left alone. Another method noted is tricking the Kappa onto land and tipping the water out of the plate-shaped depression on its head. If the water is removed, the yokai becomes weaken or paralysis until its replenish. Some stories even describe on how some humans gaining service from the Kappa after restoring the water atop of their head.
Today, there is a modern twist on the myth of the yokai in the form of urban legends. These tales depict the Kappa lurking in the sewers reaching into bathroom pipes. Some people claimed to witness a reptile-like arm emerging out of the toilet grasping at their behinds. Despite the validity of such stories, the Kappa has become a notorious icon in Japanese culture and media. It is featured in video games, manga, movies and other forms of entertainment.