I really love investigating the Asian legends and folklores. They make for good reading, if not for fantastic storytelling in my house by a loving father amusing his two daughter :)
Some well-known Japanese folktales and legends often involves humorous,bizarre characters or situations and also includes an assortment of supernatural beings -like these Kappa, a water-based demon story.
The Kappa (Nothing to do with sportswear), from Japanese lore, is named after the famous river god, Kappa. They are the legendary creatures found in Japanese folklore and a creature known by every Japanese. Their scaly, reptilian skin ranges in color from green to yellow or blue.They been described figure who is about two feet tall, covered with green, yellow, or blue scales from head to toe, and equipped with a tortoise shell on his back. Kappas supposedly inhabit the ponds and rivers of Japan and have various features to aid them in this environment, such as webbed hands and feet. They are sometimes said to smell like fish and they can certainly swim like them. In some tales, the Kappa is associated with theft, raping women and snatching little children into the water and drowning them.
There were a variety of stories attached to the kappa.They may even befriend human beings in exchange for gifts and offerings, especially cucumbers, the only food Kappa are known to enjoy more than human children. Japanese parents sometimes write the names of their children on cucumbers and toss them into waters believed to be infested with Kappa in order to mollify the creatures and allow the family to bathe. There is even a kind of cucumber-filled sushi roll named for the Kappa, the kappamaki.
As water monsters, kappa have been frequently blamed for drownings, and are often said to try to lure people to the water and pull them in with their great skill at wrestling. They are sometimes said to take their victims for the purpose of eating their livers or their shirikodama , a mythical ball inside the anus. There is a known phenomena that when a person dies a drowning death, their anus will often swell. The Japanese explained this as being caused the kappa.Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages. .
While modern Japanese people think that Kappa was the old legend, it could be that the Giant Japanese Salamander sometimes be mistaken as the mythical Kappa ?
Reference & Images: Google & Wikipedia