3 Mystical Items in Animal Crossing: New Horizons That Are Based on Japanese Folklore

Tanuki (Raccoon Figurine)

Oh, Nintendo. You thought you were so slick. You thought you could just edit out the true story behind these “raccoons” for Western audiences. Unfortunately for you, you had two big problems standing in your way.

Still not seeing them? How about these?

No? Come on… you at least see these, right?

Yeah that’s what I thought. So now look again at the image of the “raccoon figurine”.

They may have tried to obscure its cajones, but there’s no mistaking it — that’s a tanuki.

Now, in real life, these magnificent little creatures totally exist — they’re often called “Japanese raccoon dogs” due to their likeness to both animals, although their true name is “tanuki”.

In mythology, the tanuki, or Bake-danuki, has many different regional stories attached to it, but they all generally share similar ideas, such as the tanuki being able shape-shift at will, much like the trickster fox. Unlike the fox, the tanuki generally doesn’t shape-shift for malicious intent; instead, they do it because…well, they feel like it. Like the tanuki that shape-shifted into a human to work at a monastery, or the teapot tanuki that never ran out of tea. All in all, they’re generally regarded as pretty chill dudes…

…with massive balls.

Why so big? The story goes that goldsmiths would use tanuki pelts for the process of hammering gold nuggets into leaf during the Kamakura era (1192 – 1333). Over time, the pelts would get flattened out and…well, let’s just say certain assets were greatly exaggerated.

As it would turn out, the mythical tanuki has 8 specific characteristics that bring good fortune:

  1. a hat for protection-readiness
  2. big eyes to see all and make good decisions
  3. a sake bottle representing virtue
  4. a big tail that for strength and steadiness until success is achieved
  5. massive scrotum that represents financial luck
  6. a promissory note to symbolize confidence or trust
  7. a big belly to represent calm, bold decisiveness
  8. a friendly smile

Maybe that last one is best left up to interpretation.

And there you have it — the backstories behind these three mythical DIYs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Did you learn anything from this article? Do you know of others we’ve skipped over? Let us know in the comments!

For those playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and maybe need a helping hand, head over to our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide!

Heather Johnson Yu
Born at a very young age; self-made thousandaire. Recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Covered in cat hair. Probably the best sleeper in the world. Still haven't completed the civil war quest in Skyrim but I'm kind of okay with that. Too rad to be sad.

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