The Japanese Tanuki (狸 or タヌキ) is an indigenous Japanese mammal that is sometimes referred to in English as a “badger” or a “raccoon dog.” If you follow Japanese anime and manga, you will know that Tanuki have been a part of Japanese folklore since ancient times and are one of the animal species that have traditionally been thought to have the power of “shapeshifting” (the others include foxes, badgers, wolves, spiders, some kinds of cats and dogs, and certain snakes).
These days you can see comical ceramic Tanuki shigaraki-yaki all over Japan most commonly outside temples and restaurants (esp. noodle shops). The eight traits of these ceramic Tankui 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 symbolizes bold and calm decisiveness; and a friendly smile
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