Hi there. This is Kuny.

Have you ever gotten interested in raccoon dog and fox in Japan?

There are so many raccoon dog and fox’s statues, tales, and proverbs.


In this article, I disclose a secret of raccoon dog and fox of Japan!



For basic information, raccoon dog literally look like raccoon and dog, and live originally in East Asian country such as Japan, China, and Korea. They have bred in European Countries as introduced species since 1923. For further details, please refer to Wikipedia.


What’s Japanese people’ mind set for raccoon dogs?



  • According to old tales, raccoon dogs trick or deceive people
  • Raccoon dogs are used for titles of meals and proverbs
  • There are humorous statues of raccoon dog in the front of shops




What the reason that they say raccoon dogs deceive people?


Raccoon dogs are smart animals. In antiquity, Raccoon dogs and foxes lived near from human habitations. And people thought poorly of them because they sometimes stole foods from those who lived in villages. So both animals might carry a disease to people from forest.




Raccoon dogs and foxes stop short and lock back when a hunter chase after them, and they suddenly start running away again. While repeating it over and over, a hunter loses the way in a forest.




Or, when a hunter shoot a hunting gun, raccoon dog faints because of the sound of gunfire. The hunter believe he hunt for the raccoon dog then bring it to a home. After that the raccoon dog wake up and run away. Then the hunter would think that it was playing dead.



In terms of fox, they have a special skill for running away, “Back Track” so called.

Back Track is jump away into the bush from their footprint after they traced back on the way. On keeping a distance from a hunter, a fox attempt back track to behind the eyes of the hunter. The hunter should be surprised as if the fox would be vanished into thin air.

Anciently, Japanese people might put the animals in awe of them.


Japanese food consists of name of them


Famous animals can be pet are dogs and cats. In the same way, raccoon dog and fox can be made a pair for especially name of Japanese food.


Fox Udon (きつねうどん: Kitsune Udon)

Raccoon dog Soba (たぬきそば: Tanuki Soba)

Red Fox (あかいきつね: Akai Kitsune) *Instant noodle of Maru-chan

Green Raccoon dog (みどりのたぬき: Midori no Tanuki) *Instant noodle of Maru-chan




Those noodle don’t include any meat of fox and raccoon dog.

That foods include deep-fried tofu or kakiage tempra instead.

If you find those udon or soba in Japan, please try them. both are delicious.


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Why?? Raccoon dog’s statue is not like real one!


In japan, you will find statues of humorous raccoon dog.

Those statues are obviously different from cute looking raccoon dogs.


They have an umbrella, sake, and a big belly like a middle-age man.

Actually, this statues have been made since in the late 1800’s.

At that era, ceramist Fujiwara based on Shinraku-cho created the raccoon dog ornament. After that, when Emperor Showa (Hirohito) visit Shinraku-cho, and compose a poem of raccoon dog because he was welcomed by many raccoon dogs there in 1951. That event caused that the raccoon statue spread to all Japan.




Raccoon is called Tanuki (たぬき) in Japanese.


And Japanese love wordplay for good luck from ancient times.


Then Japanese believe that putting the statue in front of shop make the shop prosper because “Ta (た)” can be considered as “other (た:他), and “Nuki (ぬき) can be considered as “exclude (抜く:Nuku). That means the “shop can exclude other”, so many shops started putting the ornament at their storefront.




What do Japanese think of raccoon? Good or bad?


Conclusion: It’s good and bad. Raccoon dogs are Japanese inhabitants’ neighbor. Japanese people didn’t like them very much in many years ago. But now Raccoon dogs are loved as lucky charm for a business.


Thank you for reading!


Author: Kuny

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