Origin of Kappa
The simple meaning of Kappa is kid in river.There are three famous origins of Kappa actually
1.It is said that the Kappa came from the upper Yellow river A.C4.Kyusenbo who was head of clan took his clan to river Kuma in Kusyu(name of area in Japan) and lived there.The number of clan increased to 9,000 soon.Then they did many bad things.The lord of Kumamoto castle Kagemasa Kato got angry with them and used monkey to scare Kappa off.Kappa apologized so Kagemasa forgave and allowed them to live in river Chikugo.Then Kappa became messenger of the River god.River god's one of shrines was in Arima's Edo home but later it moved to Nihonbashi.
2.Other origin is that doll became Kappa.When master builder like Goro Sajin(Edo era), carpenter of Takeda(ancient) and Hida(Nara and Heian era) built shrine and castle they put spirit on pieces of wood,straw dolls and that kind of stuffs using magic.And dolls could work as human being.Then they forced dolls to help their work.Because of short of hands.After perfection of buildings they threw dolls away into the river saying like "you have to eat human being's shirikodama(this is said that ball is inside human being's body) from now on"
Later they became Kappa. They hurt human being and animals and stole shirikodama of human being.
Another story that dolls became Kappa.In the Heian era Seimei Abe who was famous ghost buster blocked his shikigami (dolls which were said to have spirit inside them) at one end of Ichijo Modori-bashi Bridge because his wife was afraid of them.Then later descendants of dolls became Kappa.
3.Most famous origin is that Kappa was messenger of the River god at first.But later they came down because people lost their belief in the River god.And Kappa started to do many bad things and people were afraid of them.
But a professor says image of Kappa was made by adlut people in Edo era.Because at that time many canals,flumes and ditches were made for rice fields and adult people afraid their children fell into canals so they made up Kappa and tried to stop their children going near canals. If they knew some monster were there they wouldn't go.
There are many stories about the origins of Kappa and it is not sure which origin is trustworthy.Each areas have own origin.
Last updated 6-Dec-2001